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Rear Window and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Blonde’s on Display

Uploaded by VanillaHug on Feb 14, 2002

Rear Window (1954) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) have very different plots but still have many striking similarities, such as the manipulation of the spectator’s gaze. Gaze is the transaction between the screen and a spectator. Two examples of the types of gazes used in these films are voyeuristic and fetishistic. The use of voyeuristic and fetishistic gazes reinforce movie viewing and gender roles during the 1950’s by featuring manipulative and frivolous women as sex objects.

Rear Window is a film about obsession and human curiosity. The film further reinforces this point in its plot and through its voyeuristic gaze. The film is about a man named Jeff, a wheelchair-bound photographer, who out of boredom and curiosity spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced that one of them has committed murder. The movie also draws ties between movie viewing and voyeurism. Voyeurism is when someone likes to watch an unsuspecting person. And this is what Jeff does; in fact he even has a voyeuristic job as a photographer. While watching this suspenseful movie, you can’t help but like you are in the movie, which is ironic because it shows that we are doing the same thing as Jeff--we are voyeurs sitting in a dark movie house engrossed in this film. This voyeuristic gaze is shown mainly through Jeff’s eyes. Hitchcock forces us to only see the movie through the eyes of a man. There are females in the movie, but they aren’t in every scene like Jeff is and they do not control the gaze of the camera, but instead are the subjects of the gaze. Also, the camera is kept in Jeff's apartment (except for a couple of shots near the end), which limits the audience's view to what Jeff can see and hear from his viewpoint. When he is looking through his camera lens and binoculars, we have no choice but to see the film through Jeff’s eyes. He is free to take in the spectacle of the events in the apartments around him, but he is powerless to intervene. Why he looks, however, is the larger question, and maybe we (the audience) can identify with that common urge to peep. The supporting female character, Stella, reinforces the idea of the voyeuristic gaze when she says, “We've become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house...

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Uploaded by:   VanillaHug

Date:   02/14/2002

Category:   Film

Length:   6 pages (1,460 words)

Views:   2163

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