James Stewart stars in this 1953 Thriller alongside co-stars Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, and Thelma Ritter. Rear Window was released in September 1954. The Director of the film is Alfred Hitchcock while the screenplay was done by John M. Hayes. The Production and Distribution companies are Patron Inc and paramount Pictures respectively. Jeff, the star of the film, is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his leg in the course of work as a photographer. Now he has to recuperate at his apartment where he likes to observe his neighbors through his rear window. On suspicion that his neighbor may have murdered his wife, he begins a mission to investigate with the help of Lisa and Stella. The main themes of this film are murder and love. This is a shot-by-shot analysis of the film.
Shot 1: Jeff shaving his beard
In this scene, the camera is focused on the main actor while he looks into the mirror. At this moment he is shaving his beard. This shot is taken at duration 02:31 of the movie. The location of this scene is inside the Main actor's apartment. The angle of the camera while taking this shot is at an eye-level from outside the building. It is framed as a large shot and can be described as a long shot. The editing device used for this shot is a match on action because during the scene there is continuity of action. There is a sequence of low and high angle shots alternating during this scene. Regarding the visuals, Jeff has dark hair and is wrapped in a towel. The windows are metal-grilled and there is a cup, books, a piano, a bottle, among other things in the room. Also, the lighting of the shot is medium. The audio at this point is that of the radio that belongs to Jeff. The significance of this shot was to introduce the audience to the main actor and the film.
Shot 2: Jeff in a wheelchair
This shot is taken while the main actor is seated and looking at a woman across the room. The location of this shot is inside the main actor's house. The shot is taken at moment 17:17 of the film and the angle of the camera is a straight-on while the camera shot is a medium. The editing device used for this shot is the eye-line while the montage editing principle used here is a formal one. The visuals used in the shot are dull and focused on the face of Jeff hence obscuring most of the items in the room. The only visuals in the shot are those of Jeff dressed in a half-unbuttoned shirt, his wheelchair, and a mirror behind him. The sounds that could be heard at the scene when the shot is taken are those of the Jeff and his wife. Regarding the audio, Jeff speaks in a deep voice while the woman speaks a high-pitched voice. The significance of this shot was to show a romantic mood between the main actor and the woman he loves.
Shot 3: Woman working on a piece of art (A sculpture)
The location of this shot is along the streets just on the ground floor of a building. The woman in the shot is applying the finishing touches to a sculpture she has just made. This shot is taken at moment 36:40 of the film. The camera angle is high from the top of a building on the opposite side of the streets. The camera shot at this moment is a long shot considering that there is quite a distance from where the woman is standing. The movement of the camera is alternating between slow and fast-paced. The editing device used for this particular shot is a cross cut while the montage editing principle used here is formal. The lighting of this shot is bright and there are a variety of items on the background of the shot including a garbage can and a few plants. The audio of this shot involves the woman speaking to a man who stops by while she's working. There are voices from children in the background. The significance of this shot is to create a transition between events and take the audience's mind off the action for a while.
Shot 4: A woman is holding a bible
In this shot, a woman is holding a bible. The location of this shot is in her house and she is dressed in pajamas. At this moment in the shot, the woman is clearly not in good terms with her husband. The shot is taken at moment 1:30:32 of the film. The angle of the camera at this point is a high angle while the shot type is a medium. The movement of the camera at this point is slow and focused solely on every move the woman makes. The visuals used in the shot involve a spotlight on the woman while nothing else in the room is visible. The only audio at the time of the shot is that of Jeff who is in the opposite building and spying on her from his rear window. No voice can be heard from the woman in the shot. The scene where this shot is taken is significant because it aids in catching the attention of the viewer who is eager to see what would happen to the woman who is being spied on.
Shot 5: A woman screaming
In this shot, a woman and a man are holding each other in an argument. The dispute between the man and the woman ends with the murder of the woman. The location of this shot is at the house of the man who is pictured. The shot is taken at moment 1:40:42 and the angle of the camera is a straight-on while the camera shot is a long shot. There is no camera movement at the scene when the shot takes place. The room where the fight takes place is well lit; the woman is adorned in a white dress while the man is in a blue suit. The voices can hardly be heard from the distance. The mood of the moment is tensed hence making you feel like the problem they are fighting over could escalate into something bigger. The director of the film intended to attract maximum attention from the audience and create suspense as to what the fight would lead to.
Shot 6: Woman with a dog
The location of this shot is on the balcony of a building. This shot is taken while a woman is helping her dog from the balcony towards the ground with the use of a rope and a basket. The shot is taken at moment 1:51:04 of the film. The angle of the camera when the shot is taken is low. The type of shot at this moment is a long shot. The movement of the camera also varies between fast and slow motion. This shot is given very little time since the film is coming towards its end. The editing device used for this shot is a match-on-action while the montage editing principle employed is formal. This also looks like a hand-held shot because the movement of the camera is not stable. The visuals of this shot are very bright. There is also a man in the background of the shot who does not concern himself with the activities of the woman. The audio that could be heard at the time of this shot is that of a man singing in a foreign language as well children's voices. The mood in this shot is that of happiness. The significance of this shot is to bring the viewer towards the conclusion of the film.
The main theme of the film is murder and love. In shot 2, there was a romantic moment between Jeff and his wife. There are various scenes apart from this one where the theme of love is illustrated. However, murder is the main theme of this film. Jeff investigates a murder that he suspects to have occurred across the street where a man has murdered his wife. He does this with the help of Lisa and Stella, by making observations through his rear window. The murder occurs at an instance just after shot 5. Overall, the plot of the film was superb, especially the use of suspense.
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