directed by: Alfred Hitchcock


IMDB link:

Submitted by Jordan Beck on 2009-05-22

Number of shots:
MSL 4.6 5.3 8.6
StDev 14.4 6.5 10.6
Min 0.6 0.4 1
Max 105.1 30.8 55.8
CV 1.59 0.85 0.97

Step: Vertical resolution: Height:
Degree of the trendline: Moving average : Color code?

Users' comments:

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2009-05-23

Re subjective POV shots. Which one is his, which one hers?

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2009-05-23

A silly question, I confess. Numbers speak. The first one his.

Author: Jordan Beck Date: 2009-05-23

My initial intention was to measure the ratio of objective (camera) to his (Jeff's) to her (Lisa's) POV, as Yuri's question implies (after all, we did discuss it before the screening).  However, the categories actually adhere to the following:

Objective: The omniscient viewpoint to which the viewer is used.

Subjective I: First-person POV of a character.  I used my own discretion when judging eyeline, shot-scale, etc. to determine when the camera adopted the POV of a character.

Subjective II: POV of a character looking through an extension, i.e. "an externalized manifestation of a human drive" (Hall 120).  Binoculars and a telephoto lens are the extensions in Rear Window.

Hall, Edward T. The Dance of Life The Other Dimension of Time. New York: Anchor, 1984.

Author: Yuri Tsivian Date: 2009-05-24

Yes, I was all wrong. I assumed you measure two subjective views, Jeff's and Lisa's separately. It is of use when one submits films to Cinemetrics to explain the categories one used in the advanced mode of measurements early on, e.g. in the Author's comment box above the graph. But I must say the 2 subjective criteria you've chosen do make more sense than the ones I wrongly assumed you have.  If you would have separated the subjective shots by who is looking you'd soon run into a problem. The problem is,  most of the time BOTH Lisa and Jeff are shown looking across the yard at the same window at the same time. So, your criteria make sense if only because they are in complementary distribution with one another.


Author: Jordan Beck Date: 2009-05-25

I will be sure to include all relevant information in the author's comment box from now on.  Thank you for the guidance, Yuri.

Yes.  After the screening started, I realized it would be difficult to measure Jeff's and Lisa's respective points of view for the reason you described in your post.  Jeff and Lisa are frequently shown looking out the window together.  And it's even more complex than that.  If the goal is to determine who is looking, then Stella, Doyle, Thorwald, and any number of courtyard residents must also be considered.  For the time being, I'll address those three supporting characters and leave the other residents for another post.

Doyle looks through the window with Jeff and/or Lisa, as does Stella.  The only way to accurately define a POV as "Jeff's" or "Lisa's" or "Doyle's" is if they're alone in the room; or if they're looking through an extension (the binoculars or telephot lens). 

Recall the scene in which Jeff, Lisa, and Stella are all watching Thorwald, cooking up a scheme to get him out of the apartment so that Lisa and Stella can dig in the flower bed.  We can't state that the alternate shots of Thorwald's apartment represent Jeff's, Lisa's, or Stella's point of view.  But when Jeff takes out the binoculars and telephoto lens, we can state that each subsequent shot "through" these extensions belong to him even though Lisa and Stella are in the room.

Knowing that there are many ambiguous POV shots in Rear Window, it would be interesting to measure the shots that can be defined by their gendered bearer. i.e. measure gender neutral points of view vs. gendered specific ones.*

*I sugges this in light of Laura Mulvey's essay,Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, and the Lee Edelman essay, Rear Window's Glasshole.

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