Study Guide

Rear Window Perseverance

Perseverance

LISA: I'm in love with you. I don't care what you do for a living. I'd just like to be part of it somehow. It's deflating to find out the only way I can be part of it is to take out a subscription to your magazine. I guess I'm not the girl I thought I was.

Lisa is a model of persistence—mainly in getting Jeff to commit but eventually as a part of solving the mystery, too. She sticks with Jeff even though he constantly ignores her, insults her, and rejects her advances. What does she see in him that keeps her going?

LISA: I couldn't think of anything more boring and tiresome than what you've been through. And the last week must be the hardest.

Just a friendly reminder that Jeff has already shown a measure of stick-to-it-iveness simply by staying around his apartment and not going out of his mind. He's been waiting for something to happen for weeks, and now that's about to pay off.

LISA: Pay attention to me.

JEFF: Well, I'm, I'm not exactly on the other side of the room.

LISA: Your mind is... and when I want a man, I want all of him.

Ms. Fremont isn't interested in a man who isn't paying complete attention, and she's going to make sure that Jeff gets with the program. That motivates her to jump into the mystery because for now, that's where his attention is.

LISA: Where does a girl have to go to get noticed around here?

Apparently, you have to go into the apartment of a murderer to look for clues.

LISA: Tell me exactly what you saw and what you think it means.

It's important that Lisa notices something odd in Thorwald's apartment. The minute she does, she's all in: attacking the mystery with the same persistence with which she once went after Jeff.

DOYLE: You didn't see the killing or the body. How do you know there was a murder?

JEFF: Because everything this fellow's done has been suspicious: trips at night in the rain, knives, saws, trunks with rope, and now this wife that isn't there anymore.

DOYLE: I admit it does have a mysterious sound. But it could be any number of things for the wife disappearing. Murder is the least part.

JEFF: Now, Doyle, don't tell me that he's just an unemployed magician amusing the neighborhood with his sleight of hand. Don't tell me that.

This is a great summation of Jeff's biggest problem: convincing the police that he's stumbled onto a murder. Doyle never believes him until the very end, but Jeff keeps at it, even in the face of official disapproval. Don't worry, Jeff: you'll have the last laugh.

LISA: We think Thorwald's guilty.

This is the first thing Lisa says to Doyle, stating emphatically that she's on Jeff's side and she'll see it through as far as Jeff wants to take it.

JEFF: For a minute, Doyle almost had me convinced I was wrong.

LISA: But you're not?

JEFF: In the whole courtyard, only one person didn't come to the window.

Here's what helps keep Jeff going: he's stuck in his chair, so he can't help but notice these little details building up. Plus, he's a photographer—just like in his professional life, he'll do anything to get the shot. Doyle, OTOH, has other things to do than pay attention to an open window across the courtyard.

JEFF: Go ahead, Thorwald—pick it up. You're curious. You wonder if it's your girlfriend calling. The one you killed for. Pick it up, Thorwald!

Persistence is the chief quality in a good detective—and let's face it, that's what Jeff is here. Now, he's finally about to get some confirmation of his suspicions, and he can't wait a moment longer.

JEFF: Think you've got enough for a search warrant now?

DOYLE: Oh, sure. Sure. I can make it.

More rewards for Jeff and his willingness to hold onto this thing like a terrier with a bone. He gets to rub Doyle's face in it a bit.

MISS LONELYHEARTS: I can't tell you what this music has meant to me.

Miss Lonelyhearts has kind of been put through the wringer with her perennial loneliness and obvious need for a little human connection. She has been listening to the music from the songwriter's apartment all along, and his music gave her some hope as she was on the brink of committing suicide. Even feeling hopeless and lonely, she seemed to have clung to this lifeline. It paid off; the film suggests that she and the composer will have some kind of relationship, romantic or not.

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