Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window

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Engage with the queer reading of Rear Window developed by Robert Samuels in his essay ‘Rear Window Ethics: Laura Mulvey and the Inverted Gaze’, and explain in what ways it differs from both Mulvey’s and Modleski’s feminist readings of Hitchcock’s film. In this essay I will examine the queer reading of Rear Window (1954), directed by Albert Hitchcock, given by Robert Samuels in his essay ‘Rear Window Ethics: Laura Mulvey and the Inverted Gaze’. I will compare Robert Samuels assessment of Rear Window to Laura Mulvey’s essay, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ and Tania Modleski’s essay, ‘The Master’s Dollhouse: Rear Window’ and how it differs from them both. All three theorists centre their arguments on the gaze, which has been heavily…show more content…
Mulvey argues that the male spectator receives “pleasure” from looking at the feminine image and therefore mirroring “scopophilia” which transformed the female image into an “erotic object” (8-9) (11). Moreover, she claims that the male viewer is “active” and the female is “passive”. Also, women are “looked at and displayed” and judged on their “to-be-looked-at-ness” (11). Thus, through use the use of shots, she states that the audience is automatically placed in the position of the male voyeur and is free to “command” “a stage of spatial illusion” (13). Mulvey maintains that the spectator is drawn into the male point of view through the “scopophilic eroticism” which the male character develops in the film (15). She points out that Rear Windows’ narrative, like that of other Hitchcock films, for example, Vertigo (1958) or Marnie (1964), “the look is central to the plot, oscillating between voyeurism and fetishistic fascination.”(15). She discusses how this obsession with looking usually leads the male protagonist into “compromised situations”. Furthermore, she explains how “Hitchcock’s skillful use of the subjective camera from the point of view of the male protagonist is used to “draw the spectators deeply into his position, making them share his uneasy gaze”(15). This can be observed in the scene where Lisa attempts to go over to Thorwald’s apartment to get the wedding ring, which is central to solving the murder and finding evidence against Thorwald (15). Mulvey, in reference to Jean Douchet’s analysis of the film, describes how Lisa, who she claims “had been of little sexual interest to him” and who Jefferies considered up to that point a “drag” is put in danger by an attempted assault by Thorwald when he finds her hiding in his apartment (15). However, when Lisa “crosses the barrier between his room and the block opposite, their relationship is reborn” (16). Then, Jefferies is forced to watch
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