Rear Window (1954)

October 11, 2016

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window is a film that should be seen. I could stop writing about the movie here. If you haven't seen it, go see it.

Rear Window's protagonist is L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) who is stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg and a cast to go with it. He lives in an apartment with windows that give him a stunning view of a courtyard and all the other apartments around the courtyard. Jefferies ("Jeff") has a beautiful rich girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly) who loves him dearly, but he keeps her at a distance. He also has an insurance nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter) who comes each day to take care of him.

Jeff's answer for his boredom is to sit in his wheelchair and people watch -- staring into the windows of the apartments around the courtyard and being a voyeur. One night, Jeff notices one of his neighbors (Raymond Burr) acting shifty and then notices that the wife of that neighbor disappears. Jeff thinks there is foul play and enlists the help of his detective buddy, Lisa and Stella to investigate.

The movie is a dark film punctuated by some chuckles. The film's last reel is tense and Hitchcock uses the windows and character effectively to create a high sense of tension -- having Jeff stuck in his chair watching as events unfold across the courtyard and not being able to help, Hitchcock effectively puts us, the audience members in that situation.

The film does not rely on car chases, gun fights or any other thriller tropes to generate tension. Hitchcock shows what a brilliant auteur director he is with this film, which could have easily been a stage play because of its setting.

It goes without saying that Stewart and the Kelly are fantastic in the film. Burr is genuinely creepy and scary in the film.

Still reading? Just go watch Rear Window.


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