Blog Post on Rear Window

The set for the movie is amazing, as Hitchcock and his team basically built a model of an apartment building on the studio lot. In fact, Hitchcock even said that every apartment in the building, even the ones we don’t see, was fully furnished. My question involves the apartments we do see. How do the stories that unfold in the apartments across from Jeff’s “rear window” relate to the relationship between Jeff (Jimmy Stewart) and Lisa (Grace Kelly)? Think especially about Miss Torso, Miss Lonelyhearts, the Composer, the Newlyweds, and, of course, the Thorwalds. Consider, also, the different ways Jeffries and Lisa react to what goes on in those apartments. How does Hitchcock manage to define their relationship more clearly by playing it against the lives of Jeff’s fellow tenants?

 

  1. Miss Torso:
    1. Lisa:
      1. Miss Torso is Lisa outside of Jeff’s apartment. Miss Torso is Lisa in her high society circles being a woman in a man’s profession. Both have to be flexible and put on a good show for the men of society. They have to work day and night to perform their best else they be cast out. Both seem to love what they do otherwise they would allow themselves to be cast out instead of putting the never-ending work forward. Neither love the attention of the miscellaneous men that they have to endure. Both long for the one they actually love to come home (in Miss Torso’s case) or fully commit to them (in Lisa’s case.) It can also be argued that the men they love live dangerous lives that does not allow them to go with their loves. Luckily both Miss Torso and Lisa gain what they have longed for. Miss Torso’s love (an army man) comes home at least for a while. Lisa’s love (Jeff) stops trying to push her away and accepts her presence in his life.
    2. Miss Lonelyhearts:
      1. Jeff:
        1. To Jeff Miss Lonelyhearts represents the life that he imagines for himself without Lisa. Jeff however seems to find it slightly amusing when he sees her get all dressed up and greet an imaginary man. I think Jeff can picture this sort of life for himself because he cannot believe he is worthy of Lisa’s affections. He seems resigned to the fact that he will always be toasting to someone not there. However, as the Movie progresses it seems obvious he falls out of pattern with her. While Miss Lonelyhearts goes out to try and find the company she so craves Jeff continues to try and push Lisa away. When he sees the disastrous result of Miss Lonelyhearts evening it seems he pities her and is even more convinced to push any romance away. I think the most shocking thing for Jeff is when Miss Lonelyhearts attempts to kill herself. He wants to save her and is confused how the music stays her hand. Too much is happening for him to consider what this means, but I believe if he thought about it he would see how that romance and love portrayed by the song is more tempting than continuing alone or not continuing at all.
        2. To Jeff Miss Lonelyhearts is another miserable person in this world, but only at first.
          1. Jeff watches three very important events:
            1. He watches her “imagined” dinners. Jeff can sympathize with her lonely dinners and even raises his glass in a mock toast to show his appreciation of her situation. When he toasts her he is also ignoring Lisa. I think this shows how he is still thinking that distancing himself from Lisa would be better for them both than attempting to commit to forever. I think he can see both himself and Lisa in the
            2. He watches her attempt to go out and the subsequent event of the disastrous dinner. In Jeff’s mind this is an affirmation that he is better off alone. He doesn’t want to be forced into something.
            3. He watches her attempt to kill herself and how the music stays her hand. I think this is the final thing that gets Jeff to realize how horrible life would be alone and how letting yourself be lead where your heart is how you truly can become happy. This is also happening at the same time that Jeff is worrying over Lisa’s safety and life. I think both of these events lead him to see how much he does not want to live without Lisa and how important Lisa is to him.
          2. Lisa:
            1. To Lisa Miss Lonelyhearts represents the life that she imagines for herself without Jeff.
            2. She sees the empty formalities of getting dressed up for an evening with no one – or no one special – and hates how it would resemble her nights without Jeff.
  • Lisa does not see how Miss Lonelyhearts attempts to forge a “real” relationship. If she had I think she would have been horrified and heartbroken imagining herself in Miss Lonleyhearts place.
  1. Lisa also does not see Miss Lonelyhearts attempt to kill herself. If she had I think she would have felt that doom and confermation that life is not worth living without Jeff (or the music in Miss Lonelyhearts case.)
  2. Because Lisa does not witness these two events I think it is hinted that she would be able to move on without Jeff. Especially due to their dual-admiration of the music and the comfort both feel at the end of the movie.

 

  1. The Composer:
    1. Jeff:
      1. Jeff finds it entertaining how much the composer is struggling with the music and even relates it to his and Lisa’s relationship at one point. I think it is disconcerting for him when The Composer finally succeeds in finishing his song. I also think it is funny for Jeff to watch him when he comes home drunk. When he does finally succeed is surrounded by those who want to help him Jeff is caught up in something else but I think he is also purposefully ignoring him, because he doesn’t want to believe that all he needs to do is put in the work to make his and Lisa’s relationship work. He would rather struggle on than admit that he and Lisa could make it work.
      2. There are two possible scenarios involving both Miss Lonelyhearts and the Composer represent Jeff and Lisa.
        1. One is Jeff is supposed to represent Miss Lonelyhearts and Lisa is the Composer. In this case I think Jeff does not realize how truly lonely he would be without Lisa (or the Music) and is shown how empty his life would be and unbearable it would be. He watches how it isn’t even worth living without love. I think in this case Lisa and the Composer are both trying to finish a thought or force a conclusion but are struggling with it. Lisa is trying to get Jeff to commit to her and the composer is trying to finish his piece.
        2. Two is Lisa is supposed to represent Miss Lonelyhearts and Jeff is the Composer. I think this is the most likely as Lisa knows what she wants but is waiting for the perfect person to recognize her just like Miss Lonelyhearts. While Jeff isn’t looking for love just yet but focused on his career and can’t pursue love until he accomplishes what he set out to do.
      3. Lisa:
        1. Lisa admires the music and thinks it is beautiful. She is the first to introduce the idea that it is like her and Jeff’s love. Which of course then makes her angry as Jeff comments on how he is struggling with it. I think Lisa wants the Composer to succeed so that Jeff might see that they can succeed as a couple.
      4. The Newlyweds:
        1. Jeff:
          1. Jeff watches how “happy” the Newlyweds are to be married. He also sees how every time the man comes to the window to look out or smoke his wife calls him back inside. I think Jeff thinks they are funny. He thinks it is something that will wear off and he sees the nagging of the wife as an interference to the husband’s life. I would almost go so far as to say that Jeff thinks that the Newlyweds are the precursor to the Thorwalds. Where the man can’t do anything for his own without his wife interfering.
        2. Lisa:
          1. Lisa never sees anything of the newlyweds but the curtain and their appearance at the sound of the dog-lady screaming. She does see Jeff’s reaction to them and I think it makes her angry. Lisa wants to be in that sort of relationship with Jeff but he is refusing to commit.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s