Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 production Rear Window is indeed a film primarily concerned with masculinity, or better yet emasculation, and the male gaze. The central character L.B. Jefferies, or Jeff, is a newspaper photographer who recently broke his leg snapping pictures at an auto race. He is now confined to a wheelchair and spends all of his time observing his neighbors from his Greenwich Village Apartment window. When he sees what he believes to be a murder, he takes it upon himself to solve the crime. Aided by his nurse and beautiful girlfriend he attempts to catch the murderer, Mr. Thorwald, in the end proving his masculinity unquestionable. For the most part the audience views the film from Jeff’s apartment, or through Jeff’s eyes, immediately providing understanding of his male gaze and the changes it goes through. Evidence and traits of this male gaze are seen constantly throughout the film in both areas of gender and class.
During the film we are pushed to see women as either objects of pity or sexual beings. This can be seen by the way he describes both his neighbor’s wife and his potential wife as “Nagging” and “Frivolous.” Jeff also comments on his neighbor, Miss Torso, while peering out his window claiming her to be the opposite; single, young and probably being nagged at. I believe Jeff’s relationship with Lisa Fremont gives us a much larger view into his male gaze. Their relationship is getting to the point of marriage and Jeff clearly has some reservations. Lisa tries extremely hard to persuade Jeff into the thought of marriage because she wants to be the object of his gaze. However he refuses her advances and just asks her to join him while he stares out into the courtyard. Clearly Jeff is not ready for marriage and this is accurately shown in the following quote. “Maybe one day she’ll find happiness.” “Yeah, and some man’ll lose his.” Class also plays a role in...
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