Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window

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Narrative cinema has existed since the early years of cinema, a development to keep audiences coming in by expanding the medium from the novelty of a moving picture to a stable form of entertainment. In those days cinema's largest competitor for audiences was theatre, as cinema was theatre's two-dimensional counterpart. In Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window, he attempts to blur the distinction between cinema and theatre. Obviously the largest difference is that Rear Window is a film however Hitchcock toys with the idea of having a play within the film and having his main character take on the roll of an audience member. By doing so Hitchcock has opened up various ways of narrating the film, via different characters and perspectives.…show more content…
The audience is treated to three story lines within a single film; the story within Jeff's apartment, the story of the world outside the rear window, and the story where both are intertwined. Now when watching a play in a theater or a film in cinema, the audience is barred from entry into the diegesis though in Rear Window characters are constantly crossing the barrier between Jeff's apartment and the outside world, and even penetrating the play Jeff watches from his window. Near the conclusion of the film when Lisa is caught by Mr. Thorwald in his apartment, Jeff has to watch helplessly from across the courtyard knowing that he cannot enter the story due to his physical handicap. An example from another film of crossing the threshold is in Buster Keaton's 1924 film Sherlock Jr. In said film, Keaton's character is in the cinema working as a projectionist when he sees the girl he loves on the screen. He attempts to enter the world of the film by literally jumping into the film but gets rebuffed at first, but then successfully enters the film's diegesis and becomes part of the story. At the end of Rear Window Jeff finds himself finally outside of his over story and becomes entangled in Thorwald's, Thorwald has broken the forth-wall so to speak and has entered his audience's world/apartment. The roles are reversed now as Jeff has now become the main attraction. He was the one watching everyone the rest of the film but now everyone is watching him as he struggles with Thorwald, the neighbours watch from their windows and balconies and the police, Doyle, Stella and Lisa watch from below in the
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