[…] Hitchcock cleverly teases the audience with the first screen appearance of Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont. When she surprises the slumbering James Stewart (Jeff), the words she whispers are the first shot in direct-address mode in the movie, and this shot breaks the rules in more than one way. Jeff is asleep — unless the shot suggests that he is only faking — but since the whole film elaborates on the metaphorical relationship between character, director, and spectator, as well as on the many uses of the point-of-view shot, we suspect that Kelly is really returning Stewart’s subjective shot and that she is really looking at him, that is, at us spectators and not at the camera, which is supposed to remain invisible. Obviously, the lack of verisimilitude of the filmic montage puts forward the idea that what Grace Kelly is looking at is also the camera and thus the director, and not just Stewart or the spectators in the theater. Kelly’s first direct-address appearance can thus be understood as an ironic, possibly even sadistic hint from the director to the spectator, as if the former was murmuring to the latter: dear spectator, don’t believe that you “are” the Jimmy Stewart character, for he will get the girl and you will get nothing.

Jan Baetens, The Film Photonovel.
University of Texas Press, 2019.

Jeudi 5 septembre 2019 | Grappilles |

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