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Highlighting The Laws of Mccarthyism in The Film Rear Window 

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Paul Richards once said, “The purpose of appropriation is to see the past with fresh eyes” as films today are changing the ethical and political concerns through the adaptation of McCarthyism, voyeurism and gender roles. However, does the reinterpretation and political concerns take away the fundamental themes of the past? To please the modern audience and adding new techniques to stretch out a feature-length film? Today I am going to present the overall adaptation of Cornell.W. short text ‘It Had To Be Murder’ and reinterpreted into Rear Window directed by Alfred H. through fresh eyes contradicting political views and ethical concerns in that era. Alfred expressed his political opinions through McCarthyism meaning-making accusations of subversion without proper evidence which pulls the audience into further themes of voyeurism as their persuasive eyes inspect the lives of the neighbourhood through Jeff’s eyes. The portrayal of women in the 50s was reinterpreted in Alfred’s view on gender roles and post-war anxiety. Lisa Fremont was the leading breakthrough of women in society due to the power of wealth and beauty, Jeff weak and walking within her shadows. The political concerns of the 50s have been shown within the film of ‘Rear Window’ as you watch a classic reinterpretation of ‘It had to be murder’ with a fresh view of political concerns and a distinct growing society.

Rear window is an exposition on social values which provokes the audiences to observe their neighbours just as Jeff did. By doing this, he solves a murder case which spondees the viewer to look at their neighbours and the rise suspicion which alludes to the idea of post-war anxiety. Just as Alfred’s 1954 characters invite pervasive eyes to inspect their lives, society today is guilty of the same apathy of McCarthyism which makes accusations of subversion without proper evidence. The first-person viewpoint in the opening scene merges the audiences to fall into the theme of voyeurism as they are pleasured from watching others with the use of judgement, guilt and the questioning of their innocence. The diegetic sounds in the background while the camera angles go from left to right swiftly the music changes as each view of the apartment. Rear window had a colossal effect as it was released in the post-war period where communists and soviet espionage were on the rise as McCarthyism of accusations without evidence was an issue in this era, and Alfred .H used his political concerns through the rise of suspicion and to see a classic film with a new interpretation with political views put in the film. Rear window created a significant influence on society as it brought post-war anxiety through Jeff’s exaggerated interpretations of his neighbours’ actions leading him to an irrational sense of suspicion which induced stress to people as Communism was so broad throughout this period.

The post-war period was where the portrayal of women was changed during the war as they were more self-dependent and in the era of change and liberated from the household duties and into the workforce field. Alfred .H used his political beliefs on men and women and utilized his gender roles through the Rear Window. In the rear window, the role of women rose within their actions and their risks reversing their primary role of being just a housewife. Meeting Lisa Fremont was a crucial scene as it was a sneak peek of the future and rise of women because of Alfred’s dynamic shot of her entrance through the lighting as the shadows of Lisa is where Jeff stands. The apartment was dark right until Lisa walked through the door as the shadows moved over him, and the primary camera followed as she made her way to him. Alfred. H utilized costumes as a way to identify archetypal character traits, for example, Lisa’s first dress costs over eleven thousand dollars and she is known never to wear a dress twice, this portrays the assertion of her femininity and power. When Lisa pronounces her last name, Freemont, and turns on the third and brightest light, her head is aligned with a framed picture on the wall. Alfred .H altered the gender roles and created a fresh perspective of women and men in the 50s.

To conclude Alfred’s appropriation of it had to be murder was a substantial change as sophisticated women are included into the plot, and a romance falls, and the addition of post-war anxiety the film had brought to the audience of following the fundamental law of McCarthyism. The rear window has emerged the inner voyeurism of the audience through Jeff’s eyes the rise of political concerns was due to the use of McCarthyism within the film as Jeff accused Mr Thorvald of murder as the rise of communists was a danger to the U.S government. The inclusion of women and the rise of voyeurism was the running theme in the rear window, this created the audience to question their innocence, and their guilty mind of what they put their focus on the appropriation of women within the original text was a good contrast as there were no powered women rather weak and lonely women Alfred has reinterpreted the original text into a fresh new perspective of political issues and concerns. 

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Highlighting the Laws of McCarthyism in the Film Rear Window . (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from
“Highlighting the Laws of McCarthyism in the Film Rear Window .” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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