Essay: Compare and Contrast the Movies Rear Window Stewart v. Disturbia Lebeouf

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¶ … movies Rear Window Stewart v. Disturbia LeBeouf

It is certainly difficult not to take into account Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film Rear Window when attempting to review D.J. Caruso's 2007 motion picture Disturbia. Although the more recent film is a hit through the fact that it brings forth a series of elements that differentiate it from the typical Hollywoodian horror films produced in the last few years, its resemblance to Hitchcock's movie cannot be ignored. It is somewhat ordinary for contemporary movies to have several things in common with some of the film industry's earlier productions, since it is believed that a great deal of them contained the recipe for success.

Starring some of cinematography's best actors from the time, such as James Stewart and Grace Kelly, Rear Window was seen by most as a breakthrough in the business, likely to take in large amounts of money consequent to the first weeks of its distribution. In spite of the fact that Disturbia's protagonist, Shia Lebeouf has had some success in Hollywood, his reputation fades in front of the actors in Hitchcock's movie. Nonetheless, reputation is not necessarily equivalent to good acting, thus making actors present in each movie able to prove their popularity, rather than having their name compensate for a potential lack of talent.

While most of Hitchcock's films were innovative in character and virtually unlike anything film makers produced before and even after him, Rear Window was considered by the director to be one of his best creations. Alongside of Shadow of a Doubt and Psycho, Rear Window is a master piece in the world of film. Of course, it is not surprising that Hitchcock's film was received with much lesser critiques by the public, in contrast to Caruso's movie, which was immediately associated to Rear Window, making it even more difficult for its movie crew to deal with the harsh treatment a film usually encounters (Fawell 1).

There are several factors which made it possible for Rear Window to be appreciated by the public to a larger extent. Hitchcock was one of Hollywood best known directors in his career's apogee, the actors in the movie belonged to the film industry's elite, and the public's experience in movies was still limited, all of these aspects resulting in an overall positive reaction of the motion picture.

Rear Window is based on Cornell Woolrich's short story "It Had To Be Murder," as Hitchcock believed that the text would produce a good movie if he were to adapt it to become a script. The fact that Woolrich's choices in writing were similar to those of Hitchcock's in directing made it easier for the former to deal with the short story. It too engaged readers in a tensioned adventure, waiting for a set of events to trigger their emotions. It actually seems like Woolrich's story was initially written for a movie directed by Hitchcock. It was as if Woolrich already had an idea regarding the sound and the cinematography that had to accompany his writing in order for it to become celebrated. It was probably easier for Hitchcock to adapt the short story to his script, in view of the document's resemblance to the director's thoughts (Fawell 3). Considering that Hitchcock himself inspired his script from a short story, it seems less irritating that Disturbia contains a few similarities to Rear Window, given that Caruso could just as well inspire his film from the short story. Hitchcock himself did not believe that it was wrong to copy elements from other environments, as long as one did it right, considering that he inspired from his own movies when trying to come up with new ideas (Verevis 14).

When taking into account the fact that there are more similar elements between the two movies than there are between the short story and Disturbia, it seems probable that Caruso looked into Hitchcock's movies when deciding what script to use for his motion picture. All things considered, both directors focused their attention on the beneficial nature of voyeurism, in spite of the negative reception it gets from the public. Consequent to seeing these movies one will feel that it is less wrong to be a Peeping Tom (as Stella considers Jeff).

In spite of the more modern elements present in Disturbia, the film appears to be less suggestive than Rear Window. Hitchcock's experience and his devotion toward using his actors and scenes to their full potential is probably what causes the feeling that Rear Window prevails in details and the level to which it induces sentiments into the public. It is obvious that Hitchcock gave his best with the purpose of captivating and manipulating viewers.

Hitchcock's movie deals with more intriguing topics than one might be inclined to think that it deals initially. Even though Hitchcock is well aware that the reason behind film making in the modern era is that of making lots of money, he does not hesitate to put across controversial matters in his movie. The motion picture emphasizes "so many different levels -- as psychological study, treatise on modern alienation, rumination on the nature of film going, autobiographical statement -- and does so within such a rich visual landscape, fraught with reflections and double reflections, puns and enigmas" (Fawell 7). Hitchcock clearly wanted his film to put across much more intensity than typical motion pictures from the era, even if this aggressive approach meant that he would risk losing numerous viewers. Such behavior displays from Hitchcock have troubled critics, as they did not know whether to admire the director from the position of a follower or to despise him from the posture of someone who cannot accept being drawn in Hitchcock's web of corruption (Fawell 7).

Hitchcock wanted his movie to captivate the audience during the time period they watched it. Judging from the way he directed Rear Window one is likely to feel that the film was much more interested before it ended and that there is nothing fascinating about the action in the movie once the audience becomes acquainted with its end.

In spite of the fact that it too brings forth factors which keep the audience in tension, Disturbia involves elements that make it less likely for the audience to feel that the script can actually be applied to real-life. Considering the way Kale and Ashley become friends, and the fact that the girl is not reluctant to begin spying on their next-door neighbor, it seems like society has become less worried about moral issues and has lost a great deal of its introversion in the period lasting from the distribution of Rear Window and until that of Disturbia.

Present-day films belonging to the thriller/mystery genre have certainly lost ground when concerning their attention-grabbing scenes. It seems that people are presently more interested in commercial values than they are in efficiency, literally meaning that directors would rather follow a list of rules that guarantee success in hope that this would assist their movie. Caruso has obviously inspired his film from others, but he apparently knew what to choose and what to ignore in earlier movies. By doing this, he managed to come up with a film that was less original than others, but that was received well by the public, even with its association with Rear Window. The problem with teen horrors today is predictability, since most are unsurprising, leaving the audience with the feeling that they always know what's going to happen in the next scene. Disturbia managed to break away from conventional films, becoming a modest hit and a motion picture that is actually serious.

Disturbia presents brings along modern components in addition to using ingredients from earlier sources such as Rear Window and "It Had To Be Murder." Contemporary directors have become aware that the thriller, horror, and mystery genres are more appealing to young people (particularly teenagers) than they are to people belonging to other age groups. Thus, it is not surprising that the protagonist and his friends are teenagers. Moreover, Kyle's background makes him more qualified to make a good detective, given that his interest in having justice done can be equally applied in the case of his teacher and in the case of his psychopathic murderer.

What is noble in Caruso's condition is that he did not attempt to claim that his movie was not inspired from Hitchcock's. The fact that he did not attempt to remake Rear Window is also righteous, considering that this would virtually mean to recreate a unique work of art, making this situation similar to one where a particular someone went at recreating one of Picasso's paintings.

Whether it is because of the fact that it is contemporary and that the public is already familiar to such movies thanks to Rear Window and a series of other films that are similar to it or whether it is because of the script, the audience will certainly feel that Disturbia contains much more factors that make the movie predictable… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Compare and Contrast the Movies Rear Window Stewart v. Disturbia Lebeouf.  (2010, September 21).  Retrieved July 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/compare-contrast-movies-rear-window/3256331

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"Compare and Contrast the Movies Rear Window Stewart v. Disturbia Lebeouf."  Essaytown.com.  September 21, 2010.  Accessed July 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/compare-contrast-movies-rear-window/3256331.