Director Alfred Hitchcock appears on a poster for his movie 'Rear Window', which stars James Stewart as a housebound voyeur, 1954.  (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Alfred Hitchcock Used A Simple Trick To Make Rear Window's Premise Work
Over 100 years ago, Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov created a short film demonstrating the power of editing and our mind's ability to determine emotional responses by showing different scenarios and images of a man’s reactions. The reaction images, however, were the same; the audience’s minds filled in the gaps on their own.
Alfred Hitchcock masterfully used what is known as the Kuleshov effect in his film “Rear Window.” Legendary French filmmaker François Truffaut explained Hitchcock’s use of the effect, “You have an immobi­lized man looking out. That’s one part of the film. The second part shows what he sees and the third part shows how he reacts.”
The audience comes to empathize and understand who James Stewart’s L.B. Jeffries is through this process as he experiences excitement and terror. Truffaut believes “We’re all voyeurs to some extent,” and cinema allows us to indulge in voyeurism without the repercussions.