ABSTRACT

In 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema', Laura Mulvey uses two Hitchcock films to exemplify her theory. According to Mulvey, both Rear Window and Vertigo are films 'cut to the measure of male desire', tailored to the fears and fantasies of the male spectator, who, because of the threat of castration posed by the woman's image, needs to see her fetishized and controlled in the course of the narrative. In Hitchcock's films, women's purses take on a vulgar Freudian significance relating to female sexuality and to men's attempts to investigate. For as the narrative proceeds, the sexuality of the woman, which is all along presented as threatening, is first combated by the fantasy of female dismemberment and then, finally, by a remembering of the woman according to the little boy's fantasy that the female is no different from himself.