Rear Window, filmed in 1954, is a classical Hollywood mystery capturing many aspects of human curiosity and society as it was in the twentieth century. Through restricted narration Alfred Hitchcock not only portrayed human curiosity, but also awakened a stream of suspense in the audience. He leaves us questioning human morality, and presents to us life as a stratified society. This is an evident example of the director’s innovative visual style; moreover, the extracted scene is proof of his ability to create an atmosphere coated with thrill, as well as underlined with deeper socio-cultural issues. In order to produce such an intriguing film, Hitchcock used many stylistic elements and techniques to emphasize the intended meaning and themes within the narratives.
This is a very generic or classic opening, with nothing to show that is the beginning of a “thriller,” none the less a Hitchcock thriller. The opening sequence is literally a curtain raiser, as it starts with the camera inside J.B Jefferies (Jeff)’s apartment, looking out of the window and as the credits are shown the blinds behind them are slowly raised, revealing a courtyard through three large windows, through which most of the narrative takes place. There is a consistent sequence of panoramic eye-level shots of the neighborhood block within Hitchcock’s film, though this specific scene is significant due to its central location within the plot, but, more importantly, due to Jeff’s brief demission from acting as the observer to succumbing as the observed. Richard Barsam, in his book Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film, points out how a mise-en-scène is formed by all the elements that appear within a shot itself and is the placement of everything in the shot; the objects, the people and the colors. In other words, if it’s a physical object recorded by the camera and it’s on the screen, then it’s part of the mise-en-scène. This can be used to create different atmospheres within a scene or frame as opposed to the effects created by cutting. The opening scene is similar to watching something at the theater, where the curtains are raised at the start. The mise-en-scene throughout creates a real urban environment, the placing of the potted plants outside or the pictures on the walls inside some of the apartments give them a more homely feel and allows the audience to believe that this place is real and these events actually happened, this was an actual morning, in an actual city and these are actual people living their actual lives.