The New York Times

The Murder In Greenwitch

The mystery murder...

L.B. Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.Photagrapher L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries is confined to his small apartment with a broken leg. To pass the time, he watches the goings-on of his motley assortment of neighbors a frustrated yet fun-loving composer, a middle aged couple with a small dog, a dancer who seems to enjoy practicing her routines while scantily clad, a pair of reclusive newlyweds, a lonely woman who seems to live in a fantasy world, and a salesman and his invalid wife. One day the wife inexplicably disappears, and the salesman starts doing things that lead Jeff to suspect that he may have murdered her. Unfortunately, he has no proof and no one seems to believe him. Eventually, however, things start falling together in a way that make it look like Jeff might just be right after all. Finally, his girlfriend Lisa and his nurse Stella come up with a plan to catch the killer red-handed. But doing so could put all of their lives in danger.


The vantage point is important due to the fact that it sets the stage for gaze of the movie as a male gaze. Therefore, an image such as “Miss Torso” cleaning her apartment while practicing her dance moves is definitely a sight to see, not that it is unexpected. Watching a limber young woman cleaning seems like a very stereotypical sight for the male gaze. Jeffries’ character is not exactly like a woman, but he is sometimes helpless, as in he is unable to save Mrs. Thorwald or Lisa himself. In fact, he could barely protect himself from Mr. Thorwald as he assaulted him in his own apartment. Lisa after seeing the flashes from his camera, comes with the police to rescue him. Finally, the gender roles as shown in Rear Window show a movement towards women being independent characters. I think it is interesting however in that if we really stop to think about it, Lisa is not really independent even though she is so active. That is, she seems to love Jeff for no apparent reason despite his indifference to her, and she becomes invested in the Thorwald case only when Jeff takes an interest in it. I think it’s interesting that even as Lisa is able to transcend the typical image of a female character in so many ways, she still retains many stereotypical characteristics, such as existing as a love object for the male protagonist.