Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and the Crime Fiction Genre
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window continues and expands on traditional themes of the Detective Fiction Genre. In 1841, Murder in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe broke the traditional character constraints of the Crime Fiction Genre, by introducing a new type of lead detective figure. The ideal detective figure encompassed traits of superiority, intelligence, wit and a keen sense for observation. The lead detective figure is a sophisticated character that is not bound to the constrictions and limitations of the Law and the exploration of this figure through the use of visual aid and techniques, provides contrast and variation on the common themes within the genre. Hitchcock provides an alternative approach through a new medium carving way
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However, in the final battle of Thordwell and Jeff, the door and blinds are left open and the lead detective becomes the victim in a reverse locked room scenario creating an interesting contrast to the general design of this method. Murders in the Rue Morgue sets the crime in a confined and secure apartment of the house in the Rue Morgue and the story has many relations to the locked room motif “(the door of which, being found locked, with the key inside...)” (Pg. 287), “The shutters of the front window were seldom open. Those in the rear were always closed..”(Pg. 288) and “… the door of the chamber in which was found the body of Mademoiselle L. was locked on the inside” (Pg. 289). This concept allows for a suspenseful and intriguing mystery waiting to be solved with various abstract and peculiar clues as to how a murder might have taken place. The first clue of the mystery that is given to both audience and detective, in Rear Window, is a woman’s screech in the middle of the night, although this clue is neither visual nor narrated from that point on; it sparks the attention of the detective and creates the presence of the crime fiction genre for the audience by introducing a general pattern of clues. This attention carves way for the series of clues and concepts to be presented and a perverse sense of intrusion for audience and detective is introduced.