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Rear Window Essay

Rear Window, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was made in the year 1954. It has been said that Rear Window is the basis for D.J. Caruso’s movie Disturbia. Rear Window has three main characters, J.B. “Jeff” Jefferies played by James Stewart, Lisa Fremont played by grace Kelly, and Stella played by Thelma Ritter. Each of these three characters is critiqued by five different categories, including, appropriateness, inherent thoughtfulness or emotionality, expressive coherence, wholeness and unity, and effortlessness.

The first category is appropriateness which is to determine if the characters performance is natural looking, if he or she looks and acts like the character they portray by their physical, facial expressions, speech, movement and gestures. James Stewart who played J.B. “Jeff” Jefferies looked completely natural in his performance; the way he looked and acted fit the character perfectly in every aspect from the physical features to the mentality of the character. Grace Kelly who played Lisa Fremont looked almost natural in her role, she sometimes seemed unnatural and fake in some ways, her physical features fit the part but her facial expressions and movement seemed too careful. Thelma Ritter who played Stella looked and acted completely natural in every way possible, especially in her speech and gestures she made throughout the film.

The second category is inherent thoughtfulness or emotionality which is to determine is the actor or actress effectively conveys the thought process or feelings behind the character’s actions or reactions. James Stewart seemed to put every emotion into his character J.B. “Jeff” Jefferies and put a great amount of thought into every scene. Grace Kelly seemed to have used a great amount of emotion into her character Lisa Fremont but didn’t really seem to put much thought into her acting she just seemed to do whatever she felt like doing. Thelma Ritter seemed to even out everything perfectly into her character Stella, she made it look as if every emotion and action was real.

The third category is expressive coherence which is used to determine if the character used appropriateness and inherent thoughtfulness/emotionality to create a characterization that meshes with setting, costuming, and behavior. James Stewart seemed to use the correct body language and combine setting and costumes and behavior almost precisely. Grace Kelly correctly meshed together setting, costuming, and behavior in every scene she was in, not once did she seem to present herself wrongly. Thelma Ritter did not seem to always combine setting, costuming, and behavior in the appropriate manner, she may have a couple times but it didn’t seem believable at some points.

The fourth category is wholeness and unity which is used to determine if the character has maintained the illusion of a seamless character, even if that character is purposely consumed by contradictions, despite all of the changes of shooting a film. James Stewart’s illusion of Jeff was seamless in every way; he had to overcome obstacles with the cast he had to wear the entire film but made it work throughout the film. Grace Kelly’s illusion of Lisa was also seamless; she tended to be able to breeze on through the entire film without seeming perturbed. Thelma Ritter’s illusion of Stella was absolutely seamless, didn’t seem to mess up or let anything get in her way throughout the film what so ever.

The fifth category is effortlessness which is used to determine if the characters acting seems effortless or natural. James Stewart’s acting in the entire film seemed completely effortless; it seemed to come natural to him in every way. Grace Kelly’s acting did not seem to be completely effortless but a great deal of it did, she didn’t have to try to be sweet and sexy it came natural, but to act worried seemed to be more of a struggle for her. Thelma Ritter’s acting half way seemed effortless; she seemed to struggle and have work at some of the points in each scene.

In the film Rear Window you are constantly wondering what will happen next because of the suspense involved in the film. Alfred Hitchcock kept this entire film simple and made it to where there were not many different sets, it stayed in the same set in almost every scene. The categories of; appropriateness, inherent thoughtfulness or emotionality, expressive coherence, wholeness and unity, and effortlessness is what is used to evaluate every actors performance in every film to this day. James Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Thelma Ritter were all fantastic actors and each added something different to the film, each had their own unique style and acting technique, which added up to make the film as great as it was.


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