I will admit, Rear Window was not my favorite movie. Many of the moral problems facing the characters resolved in a manner which left me wanting, and the whole film seemed to promote the attitude of “the end justifies the means.” Throughout, Hitchcock admonishes viewers for their voyeuristic tendencies and at times, pushes the idea that watching other peoples’ private lives with binoculars may not be the most upstanding past time, but in the end, a murderer is caught because of Jeff’s voyeurism, suggesting it wasn’t so bad afterall. Additionally, the relationship between Lisa and Jeff definitely said that women should change who they are in order to get the guy. So, expanding on my ideas in class discussion today, here is Kaley Chicoine’s Alternate Ending to Rear Window:
The movie stays exactly the same up until the police take Lisa off to jail. Jeff, distraught, is unable to pay her bail. He continues to watch Thorwald, who is now aware of Jeff’s gaze. This constant surveillance starts to make Thorwald edgy, and he keeps looking back at Jeff, shrugging his shoulders and going so far as to call Jeff and ask what he wants. After nearly a full night of this, Thorwald shows up at Jeff’s door. He explains that he and his wife are on bad terms, and that she went away to stay with a friend in the country after proposing a divorce. They don’t really love each other anymore, anyway. Jeff will hear none of it and remains silent. Thorwald gets upset, continuing to explain his actions and repeatedly asking what Jeff wants. Jeff eventually speaks, denouncing everything Thorwald has said and accusing him of murdering his wife. Thorwald snaps and throws Jeff out of the window. The movie ends with Jeff dead, Lisa with a criminal record, and Thorwald arrested for Jeff’s murder.
This version of Rear Window deals with my earlier complaints. Lisa ends up in trouble because she tried to change who she was just to suit Jeff. Voyeurism is definitely not rewarded. More so, Thorwald becomes a much more interesting character. He ends up guilty of the crime Jeff imposed upon him, but only because Jeff relentlessly pushes him toward it. And, there is an unexpected twist at the end that keeps things interesting. The movie would end with a very clear message: don’t try to understand people’s lives from the outside.