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 Rear Window coursework (Media)

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Mr. Hendrick

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PostSubject: Rear Window coursework (Media)   Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:06 am

This is a media essay, you must focus on technical terms, such as camera angles, music features and how the director creates effect.

Possible essay questions: you may choose one essay question, or combine ideas from all titles:

1. An analysis of how narrative and genre are used to create meaning and generate audience response in the opening of ‘Rear Window’ directed by Alfred Hitchcock

2. How does Hitchcock symbolize L.B. Jefferies fear of commitment in 'Rear Window'?

3. How does Hitchcock create tension 'Rear Window'?




Key Scenes:

Opening scene:



The Kiss:



Stewart, Kelly, Miss Lonelyheart:

[u]


Last edited by Mr. Hendrick on Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mr. Hendrick

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PostSubject: Re: Rear Window coursework (Media)   Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:10 am

Summary/analysis of entire film:

http://www.filmsite.org/rear.html

More in depth:


Hitchcock's fans and film scholars have taken particular interest in the way the relationship between Jeff and Lisa can be compared to the lives of the neighbors they are spying upon. The film invites speculation as to which of these paths Jeff and Lisa will follow. Many of these points are considered in Tania Modleski's feminist theory book, The Women Who Knew Too Much:[10]
• Thorwald and his wife are a reversal of Jeff and Lisa—Thorwald looks after his invalid wife just as Lisa looks after the invalid Jeff. However, Thorwald's hatred of his nagging wife mirrors Jeff's arguments with Lisa.
• The newlywed couple initially seem perfect for each other (they spend nearly the entire movie in their bedroom with the blinds drawn), but at the end we see that their marriage to become more realistic as the wife begins to nag the husband. Similarly, Jeff is afraid of being 'tied down' by marriage to Lisa.
• The middle-aged couple with the dog seem content living at home. They have the kind of uneventful lifestyle that horrifies Jeff.
• The Songwriter, a music composer, and Miss Lonelyhearts, a depressed spinster, lead frustrating lives, and at the end of the movie find comfort in each other: The composer's new tune draws Miss Lonelyhearts away from suicide, and the composer thus finds value in his work. There is a subtle hint in this tale that Lisa and Jeff are meant for each other, despite his stubbornness. The piece the composer creates is called "Lisa's Theme" in the credits.
The characters themselves verbally point out a similarity between Lisa and Miss Torso (played by Georgine Darcy) — the scantily-clad ballet dancer who has all-male parties.
Other analysis, including Francois Truffaut in Cahiers du Cinema in 1954, centers on the relationship between Jeff and the other side of the apartment block, seeing it as a symbolic relationship between spectator and screen. Film theorist Mary Ann Doane has made the argument[citation needed] that Jeff, representing the audience, becomes obsessed with the screen, where a collection of storylines are played out. This line of analysis has often followed a feminist approach to interpreting the film. It is Doane who, using Freudian analysis to claim women spectators of a film become "masculinized", pays close attention to Jeff's rather passive attitude to romance with the elegant Lisa, that is, until she crosses over from the spectator side to the screen, seeking out the wedding ring of Thorwald's murdered wife. It is only then that Jeff shows real passion for Lisa. In the climax, when he is pushed through the window (the screen), he has been forced to become part of the show.
Other issues such as voyeurism and feminism are analyzed in John Belton's book Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window".
Rear Window is a voyeuristic film. As Stella (Thelma Ritter) tells Jeff, "We've become a race of Peeping Toms." This applies equally to the cinema as well as to real life. Stella invokes the specifically sexual pleasures of looking that is identified as exemplary of classical Hollywood. The majority of the film is seen through Jeff's visual point of view and his mental perspective. Stella's words sum up Hitchcock's broader project as film maker, namely, to implicate us as spectators. While Jeff is watching the rear window people, we too are being "peeping toms" as we watch him, and the people he watches as well. As a voyeuristic society, we take personal pleasure in watching what is going on around us.
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Mr. Hendrick

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PostSubject: General Help   Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:17 am

Media Coursework: ‘Rear Window’ Mr. Hendrick



Writing about cinema
As with studying written texts, there are conventions (rules of thumb) for doing this. One simple way of finding out what these are is to look at published commentaries. Newspaper and magazine reviews may be helpful, as may broadcast (radio and television) cinema review programmes. Well worth watching is François Truffaut's 1973 film La Nuit Américaine (Day for Night) which tells the (fictitious) story of the making of another film, showing the workings of the studiocn, fairly accurately. In your writing, what you should not do is simply retell narrative ("what happens/the story"). Below are some things you may or should wish to consider. If you discuss your films in terms of most or all of these, and finish with a personal judgement (did you like it, and why?) you will not go far wrong.

Who is the "author"?
In the case of a novel you can see from the cover who wrote it, and you probably know the names of authors such as Charles Dickens, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl or Judy Blume. In the case of a film the person who gets the credit is chiefly the director. This person has overall artistic control (or is supposed to). The person who co-ordinates the business aspects (ensuring the film meets its budget, representing the studio) is the producer. The film will have a writer (or writers) who create the screenplay. In writing about a film, you are not expected to refer to the producer, but may wish to mention the writer (of the screenplay). You should refer to the director; finding out who he or she is should be one of your first tasks.
Sometimes a writer adapts an existing work: Kenneth Branagh has adapted Shakespeare's Hamlet, Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing while John Hodge has adapted Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. Ian Fleming's (James Bond story) You Only Live Twice was adapted by Roald Dahl. Some directors you may have heard of are Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton and Ridley Scott. Until recently directing was an all-male preserve, but women directors are becoming more prominent: some you may have heard of are Jane Campion (The Piano), Katherine Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days), Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle).

Characters and characterization
The (fictitious) people in the story are the characters, whom you should identify by their names in the film. When you first mention them (but not again) you should give the name of the actor/actress who plays the part, in brackets, after the character's name, in this way: Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams). You should write about the principal characters, commenting on such things as their circumstances and situation, their personality and anything else which engages our sympathy (liking) or disapproval. Characterization refers to what the actor/actress or writer does to establish what the character is like: this means such things as physical actions or gestures, habits of speech or favourite sayings.

Setting
As important as the human characters in many cases, and often more so, are places where the action occurs both as identifiable locations and for what they represent or the feelings associated with them. In some kinds of film (the road movie, the Western) the setting is grand and panoramic while in others (like horror films) it may be narrow and claustrophobic.
In Edward Scissorhands Tim Burton depicts a caricature of small-town America, with elements from the 1950s to the 1980s, with identikit manicured lawns and suburban tidiness; but at the end of the town is a Gothic castle, complete with manic inventor - the effect of this juxtaposition (mixing) of details is surreal and unsettling. At the start of the film an Avon lady, doing her rounds, calls at the castle - and this is presented as perfectly normal.
In Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho the motel where the mad killer, Norman Bates, lives is almost a character. Other settings which are vital to the films in which they are found are Rick's café in Casablanca (originally to be titled Everybody Comes to Rick's), the Australian outback in Walkabout, "Elm Street" of the many nightmares, Gotham City (Tim Burton again) in Batman and Batman Returns or horrific imagined future worlds in the Mad Max and Terminator films, or Blade Runner.
Sometimes the setting is a spacecraft, train, ship or aeroplane: this has the effect of bringing together unlikely combinations of people, often in dangerous or romantic circumstances. Good examples worth discussing are the spacecraft in Alien or Star Wars or the bus in Speed.

Cinematography and artistic design
This refers to the "look" of the film and the way this contributes to its total artistic effect. Look at the lighting of particular scenes; look at use of colour; consider camera technique - steadicam or hand-held, long tracking shots, reaction shots and cutaways. Modern directors sometimes deliberately make films in black and white (e.g. Peter Brooke, Lord of the Flies; Peter Bogdanovich, Paper Moon and The Last Picture Show; David Lynch, The Elephant Man; Francis Ford Coppola, Rumble Fish; Steven Spielberg, Schindler's List; Tim Burton, Ed Wood). Can you think why they do this? Among many films remarkable for their artistic design or cinematography are Fritz Lang's 1926 Metropolis; most of the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; Hitchcock's North by Northwest; Terence Malick's Badlands and Days of Heaven; Ridley Scott's Alien, Bladerunner and Thelma and Louise; Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, Batman and Sleepy Hollow, and Sam Mendes's American Beauty.
Music and soundtrack
Accompanying music is important for the mood of a film. This may be achieved by playing well-chosen "classic" popular music, to establish a sense of place and time or evoke nostalgia; or it may be done by original composition. Try to comment on the effect of any musical accompaniment in films you watch.
Genre
This refers to the kind or category of film you are discussing. Most directors choose to work within a recognizable convention (horror, road movie, teen romance, western, romantic comedy, costume drama, "chick-flick" and so on). Does the film you are studying belong to any such recognizable category? If so, how can you tell? Refer to any details which belong to this convention or genre.

Links for Rear window:

Full summary featuring dialogue: http://www.filmsite.org/rear.html

Web links for studying film
www.academicinfo.net/film.html Mike Madin's excellent portal site for film and media.
www.cinema-sites.com Portal site for film and media.
www.indiewire.com Portal for independent filmmakers.
www.imdb.com The Internet Movie Database.
www.filmworld.co.uk UK-based site for film lovers.
www.mrqe.com Movie Review Query Engine - launch site for film reviews.
www.filmreview.co.uk UK film review site.
www.teleport.com/~cdeemer/Software.html Screenwriting software.
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Mr. Hendrick

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PostSubject: Re: Rear Window coursework (Media)   Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:20 am

OK, here are some links for the more ambitious of you!! This stuff is very deep, but also is the stuff you have been saying in class!!




This is a very complex article! but as I say it covers many of the issues discussed by you in class.

Film and Psychoanalysis: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.


Again, this is tricky but this is an excellent example of an analysis of a film. Zizek analyses Hitchcock's 'The Birds' (It is about 1 minute, 40secs in)


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Mr. Hendrick

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PostSubject: Re: Rear Window coursework (Media)   Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:53 am

Sample sentences:

In the opening scene we are introduced to L.B Jefferies (James Stewart). His character is multi-layered. This is symbolised through….

Describe the photos – This could symbolize/indicate……

Hitchcock cleverly uses many symbols to introduce the audience to what the film could be about.

The opening sequence of the film suggests many different genres such as……
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