The Cinematography Elements in Rear Window and Vertigo

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Alfred Hitchock is a director with high attention on his movies. Many story lines and techniques within cinematography of Hitch are common standards for films today. Hitch films are known for being mysterious, cynical, as well as suspenseful and they are all similar, but different because of his use of mise-en-scene, narrative elements and the actors. In two of Hithcock’s movies called Rear Window released in 1954 and Vertigo released in 1958, both movies have similar, but different techniques that compliment each other.

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In both of the movies the narrative elements are similar, but different at the same time. Alfred Hitchock creates amazing suspense. Through the entire film of rear window, suspense in the apartment is created by the sense of Jeffer almost getting murdered by thorwald. Within those scenes the audience gain a feeling of uncertainty and therefore raises questions of wanting to know why the items are being moved, wanting to know what happens to lisa and wanting to know how thorwald will approach to jefferies as he waits. Likewise in Vertigo, suspense is created in the opening sequence giving anxiety as one of the central characters is left suspended in the air, but then quickly switches to Midge’s apartment, which is questionable on how he could have survived in this awful sense.

Another narrative element is the setting, in vertigo the setting was in San Francisco a setting of mysterious it consisted of dramatic bruges, steep and winding streets. The Golden Gate Bridge at fort point, was the spot where madeleine takes a reckless risk of jumping into the bay which was one of her sudicials in the movie. The Mission San Juan Buatista was another setting that evoked the death of madeline and the setting of the film. Whereas, in rear window Jeffer apartment was in Greenwich Village. Jeffersie was stuck in the small apartment with his broken leg, he was able to solve the mystery in the apartment.

Mise-en-scene is seen in both movies. The different colors used in Vertigo is a perception of the characters and their actions. Green and red seem to be a color constantly use in the movie. The first time Scottie meets Madeleine, the restaurant is nicely decorated with red garments. Then the color Green is to represent madeleine’s ghost nature when she takes him to the forest and her green car. However, it is not the same with Rear Window most of the colors were black and white. The dark scenes were more scary than scenes that took place during the day time. 

Camera Angles is another element of mise-en-scene. Extreme closeups are use to show what is going on in Rear Window. Close-ups show the characters faces to show what they are thinking. A close-up of jefferies to show that he is starting to fall in love with lisa after taking the note.Close- ups are used on jeffries a lot during the film. It is mostly use after jefferies spies on Thorwald. Not only is close-up in rear window, but also in Vertigo. Vertigo starts off with a close-up of a woman's mouth and pans up to the women’s eye. The person's eyes seem scared and restless.

Rear Window and Vertigo share many things in addition to the use of James Stewart as the male lead. James Stewart is a wonderful actor in both films, but in Vertigo it’s James Stewart acting that tweaks a bit more as a lovable everyman. He appear to play more of a creepy Stwart because he has an obsession with madeleine, he uses judy because not only does she look like madeleine, but he could turn her into madeleine by making her change her hair, and her clothing. His actions in vertigo is changing from rear window, he is more of a different character because of his action to madeleine. On the other hand for rear window, stewart works as an audience surrogate from the start, to such an extent that the entire movie is about the unsavory kick he gets from voyeurism. He acting in Rear Window is more warm, inviting arrangement that it feels peculiar, fascinating and he makes use of his own boredom from the wheelchair. His acting easily bridges the gab between a borderline creepy voyeur who won’t commit to the lovely girlfriend and a dectective who won’t let a man get away with murder. Both in Rear Window and Vertigo, James Stwart acting is very natural. It doesn’t even look like he is trying, you can’t help but laugh at a lot of his lines, the way he looks and he presents every scene is amazing. For example in Rear Window, he is confined to a wheelchair, but he is so effective and seems completey normal while stalking the murder. In Vertigo, Stwart embodied the everyman very good and the way he moves his eyes through his emotions helps the audience read his reaction. 

Hitchcock’s has directed many amazing movies with different elements of cinematography. Rear Window and Vertigo have their own unique feel and characteristics, but at the same time some of the elements are similar. It helps us understand hitchcock movies and the way it’s related through his use of mise-en-scene, narrative elements and the wonderful acting of James Stwart. Rear Window and Vertigo mise-en-scene consisted of camera angles, colors that were represented differently in each movie, suspense is seen in both of the movies, but the settings was different in each movie and at least James Stwart acting is represented natural in both movies, but his acting in Rear Window was most focused in crimes while his acting in Vertigo was more difficult, he represents the everyman in the movie. While there are many other elements that can help us read Alfred Hitchock movies, these a few that I admired in both of the movies.  

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