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Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window: Sound

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Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window: Sound

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  • March 2, 2008
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Sound is everywhere. It is part of our everyday lives and our interactions and definitely a part of film. Sound, especially dialogue, makes it easier to understand what is happening. But it also provides texture and emotion to each scene. Though most moviegoers might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we cannot underestimate the importance of sound and music in film. Most movies would not be interesting at all if you were to take away the sound and music. Sound enables the director to create certain moods and emotions, express continuity throughout the film, tell a story, and even enhance meanings. Not only can sound be an aural sense but a visual sense as well and director Alfred Hitchcock knew this and applied it in his movie Rear Window. When Alfred Hitchcock fans refer to his style, they are usually referring to Hitchcock's camera magic and editing. When I think about Hitchcock the first thing that comes to mind is his use of sound effects, language, and music to create suspense or a sense of understanding. In the film Rear Window, there are many occasions where Hitchcock uses sound in order to convey a feeling of terror. In author Robert Bresson's book Notes on the Cinematographer, he claims that when sounds replace images, the hearing sense goes within and the seeing sense moves outward (Bresson 51). Hitchcock knew that the human imagination is far more sinister than anything he could ever produce on screen. For example, the memorable moment when Mrs. Thorwald is murdered, only the sound of a scream can be heard somewhere in the background. It leaves the audience to ponder along with the main character, Jeff, not only what the sound was but where it came from. This strategy Hitchcock used left our imagination to create a visual of what only could have happened to the lady screaming in the distance.

Another instance in which Hitchcock used a scream to create terror is when the woman discovered that...