Hitchcock’s 1954 film Rear Window is considered a thriller but discusses gender just as much as his horror films. It seems to be universally agreed upon that this film is a thriller and mystery. It follows Jefferies, a man who is stuck in a wheelchair in his apartment because of an accident that has left his entire left leg from toes to waist in a cast. As a result of his forced sedentary lifestyle, he spends most of his time staring out his window into the lives of his neighbors. The mystery begins when he begins to suspect a murder.
This film deals a lot with voyeurism. It is almost an exaggerated or intensified male gaze. He sees a woman dancing in very little clothing, he watches people sleep, and he watches a woman known as “Miss Lonelyhearts.” Some people argue that this film approves of this voyeurism because this is what leads to the murder being solved. However, others argue that it condemns this behavior because the entire time the audience feels uncomfortable about the voyeurism.
Lisa Fremont, Jefferies’s fiancee, much like Hitchcock’s other leading ladies, plays an important part in this film. While Jeff is stuck in his wheelchair, she is the one who leaves the apartment and goes out to his neighbor’s apartment and puts herself at great risk. She is more active in the mystery than Jefferies is.
Her role early on in the film is as Jefferies’s love interest. She wants to join him in his adventurous lifestyle but he doesn’t want her to come because it is dangerous. He is already feeling emasculated by being stuck in the wheelchair. I think he realizes she can handle his lifestyle but he would feel further emasculated by it. She proves she can handle it at the end when she puts herself in danger in order to help solve the mystery Jefferies was catching on to.
Wood, Robin. “Rear Window.” Hitchcock’s Films Revisited. New York: Columbia U.P., 2002. 100-07. Print.