Rear Window - Lighting & Light



This picture is from Rear Window (1954) that I watched in 2010. This picture, undoubtedly, shows low-key lighting which is a very important lighting in the movie. Low-key lighting usually leaves most of the background as well as part of the scene dark. Overall, the light is very few, so we can only see part of the character. Low-key lighting usually is used as a way to show a mysterious person or a person who is going to commit crime. Also, even in some horror films, low-key lighting is really popular to be used to show horrific atmosphere. In this movie, Jeff, a photojournalist, breaks his leg in an accident, so every day, he stays at home, watching his neighbor's life through the rear window in the apartment. However, one day he notices Thorwald (who is the guy in the picture) is cleaning a large knife and handsaw, and his wife is gone, so Jeff suspects that Thorwald kills and split his wife. Jeff wants to prove that, but Thorwald notices that Jeff is watching him every day. Thus, Thorwald tries to kill Jeff so that there won't be any people who suspect him anymore. This picture is the time when Thorwald enters Jeff's apartment. With low-key lighting, audience can feel mysterious towards Thorwald because shadows hide most of his face, giving us a sense of horror. Also, the shadows on his face not only cover his face, but also represent his purpose and what he will do is unclear. Therefore, I think using low-key lighting can vividly portray Thorwald, a murderer who killed his wife, and tried to kill Jeff.

Here is the video clip where Thorwald goes in Jeff's room.


What I notice most about this fame is that the ray of light shining on his face really only reveals his eyes. I think it really helps create a creepy feeling for the scene and also subtly tell the audience what his intentions are, creating a very suspenseful effect to keep them on the edge of their seats.

I agree with how the low-key lighting gives a mysterious and horrifying tone to this scene. I like how there is a reflection on Thorwald's glasses because it makes the audience draw their attention straight to his piercing eyes and not pay too much attention to the rest of the setting just the danger of his stare.

This lighting is so perfect for creating a haunting feel. You know something is about to happen that probbbbably isn't great. The low-key aspects give mystery to the subject. Also the lighting doesn't draw attention to the surroundings, making him the focal point, and a spooky one at that.

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This page contains a single entry by zhan2704 published on January 29, 2013 6:01 PM.

Lighting - Shutter Island was the previous entry in this blog.

Lighting-Promt #2 is the next entry in this blog.

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