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Download Rear Window 1954 Movie Legally
Year:
1954
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
Alfred Hitchcock

 

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James Stewart as L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey as Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter as Stella
Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn as Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian as Songwriter
Georgine Darcy as Miss Torso
Sara Berner as Wife living above Thorwalds
Frank Cady as Husband living above Thorwalds
Jesslyn Fax as Sculpting neighbor with hearing aid
Rand Harper as Newlywed man
Irene Winston as Mrs. Anna Thorwald
Havis Davenport as Newlywed woman
Rear Window Storyline: Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.
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Reviews
One of Hitchcock's best. Nearly as great as Psycho.
Rear Window is Alfred Hitchcock's comment on the voyeuristic quality of society (`We've become a race of peeping toms…'). It is the story of a man bound to a wheelchair by a broken leg who sees what he believes to be a murder being covered up in an apartment across the courtyard from him.

James Stewart delivers an excellent performance as L.B. `Jeff' Jeffries, the magazine photographer who is bound to a wheelchair and who finds himself spying on his neighbors, at first out of boredom but very soon out of strong suspicion. This is a very talky thriller and is limited entirely to what is seen from Jeff's large apartment window. The fact that the entire two-hour film takes place in such a small setting is a strong statement about Hitchcock's tremendous skills as a director. He makes the film interesting in countless ways, such as his excellent, meaningful use of shadows, the very thorough character development, his interesting use of symbolism (such as Jeff's difficulty in reaching itches underneath his cast), not to mention the amazingly effective suspense, a Hitchcock trademark.

Just before Jeff notices some suspicious events occurring across the courtyard, he is constantly complaining about not being able to find any interesting work as a photographer, and it is ironic that he soon finds something interesting right outside his own window, and while he is confined to a wheelchair, no less. The fascinating crime story of the man across the courtyard having murdered his wife is made even creepier by the fact that it is all deducted from behavior that Jeff sees out his window, and we don't even find out for sure if he is right or not until the film's exciting climax. Hitchcock fans are also likely to notice a line of dialogue that may have foreshadowed some of the events that were to later take place in Psycho, such as the insurance company nurse's speculation that the killer must have cut up his wife's body in the bathtub (`That's the only place he could have washed away the blood…').

Another thing that sets Rear Window aside from other thrillers (including its own 1998 re-make which, incidentally, was far superior to the 1998 re-make of Psycho), was the way that it had several stories going on at the same time, which is one of the ways that it was able to remain so interesting. Jeff is an injured photographer, he is unsatisfied with his work, he is having a dilemma about marrying his sweetheart because he feels she is too perfect for him (the flimsiest excuse on the planet, of course, but he actually makes it make a little bit of sense), and then he comes across these events across the courtyard from his apartment that make him think that there has been a murder over there, and the murderer (Raymond Burr) is trying to cover it up.

Some of the things that happen in this film are not perfect, or seem uncharacteristic of Hitchcock, but the film as a whole is still spectacularly effective. For example, as a Hitchcock scholar, I found it strange that the killer strangled the dog and left it in the middle of the courtyard for all to see (and for Jeff to make revealing conclusions about). Think about how much more effective this would have been if the woman who owned the dog had just stood out on her porch calling for him, and he never came. This way, the realization that the man had killed the dog would have been much more gradually realized, and may have made the suspense created by it that much more impressive. At any rate, this is an outstanding film, and Hitchcock definitely created an amazing amount of suspense with such limited means, leading up to a tremendous climax that provided a quick but satisfying ending to this classic film.
2001-04-02
Quite puzzled as to how it got in to IMDb top 20
This movie being in IMDb top 20 puzzles me somewhat. I have seen most of the IMDb top 20 movies and they lived up to my expectations or exceeded expectations apart from perhaps The Dark Knight, Star Wars, and Lord of the ring. Those movies are up there understandably due the votes of the huge fan base. But how did Rear Window got up there? Due to the fan base of Hitchcock? Probably... and my be also due to the fact this is a pioneering movie of its genre. I can try and agree with reasons given by reviewers who has given very high rating for this movie. However, the whole package is bit disappointing, specially when you put this movie in current context. I cannot agree that this is a timeless classic. Anyway, you have to put my rating of 5 in context as well. I am rating it for the entertainment value forgetting about the fact that Hitchcock did this movie in 1954 and he was a pioneer of the genre.
2009-11-23
"A murderer would never parade his crime in front of an open window"
There can be absolutely no doubt that Alfred Hitchcock was one of the most gifted film directors ever to work in Hollywood, and 'Rear Window' is one film that demonstrates most exhaustively his enormous talents. I must admit that, on my first viewing of the film, I was quite new to his work, and, whilst I thought it was a solid achievement, it didn't strike me as being anything particularly special. How wrong I was! With subsequent viewings of 'Rear Window,' include one in a cinema, I was able to better appreciate its intricacies: the flawless performances, the 100 minutes of subtle, wonderfully-executed suspense, the shades of delightfully-dark humour, the manner in which Hitchcock places the viewer inside Jeff's tiny apartment. Released in 1954, 'Rear Window' was the second of four Hitchcock films to star James Stewart (the others being 'Rope,' 'Vertigo' and 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'), and the second of three to feature one of Hollywood's greatest beauties, Grace Kelly ('Dial M for Murder,' 'To Catch a Thief').

On the surface, the plot to 'Rear Window' is deceptively straightforward. The screenplay was written by four-time Hitchcock collaborator John Michael Hayes, and based loosely on the short story 'It Had to be Murder,' by Cornell Woolrich. Confined to his apartment with a broken leg, successful adventure photographer L. B. "Jeff" Jefferies (Stewart) passes the tedious days and weeks by peering through the window at his neighbours, watching and learning their daily activities and rituals. When he is not being a voyeur, Jeff is distracted by visits from an embittered insurance company nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), and his beautiful, glamorous socialite girlfriend, Lisa (Kelly). Jeff's "peeping tom" activities become considerably more serious than simply a means of passing the time, and he is soon immersed in the triumphs and failures of his neighbours. On one particular night, Jeff notices a man in the apartment across the courtyard (Raymond Burr) acting in a suspicious manner, and, despite the doubt of his friends, he begins to suspect that this man has committed an absolutely heinous crime.

The sheer genius of 'Rear Window' is not just how well-executed this storyline is, but how Hitchcock ties it together with numerous other narratives, making all of the strings equally-interesting to watch. Each of the apartments visible from Jeff's window acts like a different world – a separate movie – and the combination of all of these creates a rich tapestry of lifestyles, and a range of human relationships that mirror that of Jeff and Lisa. For example, there is hard-working salesmen Lars Thorwald, who arrives home each day to the incessant nagging of his invalid wife (Irene Winston); the woman in the floor below, dubbed "Miss Lonelyheart" (Judith Evelyn), is a hopeless romantic who, in her depression, is addicted to alcohol and sleeping pills; a young music writer (Ross Bagdasarian) struggles to make an income; a sexy young dancer, "Miss Torso" (Georgine Darcy), practises her dance moves and battles various suitors; two newly-weds frequently culminate their marriage with the blinds drawn, though, by the end of the film, the wife has begun the nagging that is arguably characteristic of the gender!

Despite obviously being in love with Lisa, Jeff is apprehensive of approaching marriage, fearing that his gritty, adventurous, globe-trotting lifestyle will not be compatible with Lisa's love of socialising and high-fashion (she is never caught wearing the same expensive dress twice). At first, we notice Jeff using the lives of those in the other apartments to distract from the troubles in his own, and he often uses the examples before him to support the decisions that he must make in his own life. As the film progresses, Lisa reveals a daring, audacious streak in trying to solve the mystery, and Jeff realises that, when love is concerned, small compromises can and should be made in order to make a fateful relationship work. As the film closes, we notice Lisa lying on a bed in common, unglamorous clothing, reading the book, "Beyond the High Himalayas," no doubt in preparation for the couple's next adventure. However, though some compromises have been made, Lisa still remains her own women, suddenly casting aside Jeff's reading material and raising her own "Harper's Bazaar" magazine to her face.

Of course, despite the multitude of little narratives that comprise the film, the most significant – and, indeed, the one we remember best – is that of Lars Thorwald and his missing wife, Anna. After witnessing the former acting suspiciously during a stormy night, Jeff suspects that the over-worked and under-appreciated Thorwald has brutally murdered his wife, decapitated her body into several pieces and carried out the remains in a suitcase. Though Jeff's police detective ex-War buddy, Thomas J, Doyle (Wendell Corey), believes Jeff's story to be fantastic, Stella and Lisa soon come to accept the theory as fact, helping an immobile Jeff to solve the mystery. That we never fully understand the motivations of the murderer, having to be content with brief glimpses from afar, is crucial to Hitchcock's storytelling, and, by making the audience complicit in his characters' voyeurism, we feel as though our safety is being placed in jeopardy. The entire film possesses a very subtle air of unrelenting suspense, but the final ten minutes or so are among the most thrilling in cinema history.
2007-07-06
No rear window
Many positive things about Rear Window have been said; after seeing Hitchcock's "own favorite movie" for the first time, I would only make some small critical comments. First, I don't understand the title. Because Stewart's appartment doesn't have a "real" front (the front door is situated in a corridor, where are no windows at all), the window he's continuously looking through is by all means a FRONT window. Second, only for Hitchcock's own comfort as a director, Stewart is able to observe his neighbours through his binoculars and his enormous - at least - 300 mm objective the entire day and night, without ever being asked or confronted what the hell this voyeur think he's doing! His neighbours, who live only a couple of feet across, must have noticed this man observing them way before "Thorwald" does, when Kelly is found in his apartment (giving Stewart fingersigns, discovered by Thorwald). Third, and most important, I found the final scenes so disappointing, I couldn't believe this was a Hitchcock-movie. All of Stewart's assumptions and predictions are proven to be right and that's it. No surprises, nothing new is added and, most disturbing, no explanations or motives are given why Thorwald killed his wife. In all, I was tempted to believe this movie was originally written as a musical.
2001-08-08
Looking Through the Rear Window
Hitchcock was a master of his craft- everyone is aware of that- and his ideas revolutionized and popularized the thriller genre, one of my personal favorites. Skimming through his rich filmography, every addition is fueled by unmatched suspense. This is no different with one of Hitchcock's highly-acclaimed classics, Read Window. The film promises so much potential with its opening act in which the camera is technically the first participant and onlooker as it manages to give us a considerable amount of backstory without any verbal language in its first five minutes or so. It carefully observes a fascinating environment/setting- one in which every neighbor's life is visible through their open windows. The way the set was built and is in appearance is simply genius and (almost) never was the set of a film as crucial to its story and themes as it is here.

Right from the get-go, you witness an underlying theme in that this picture conveys the isolated and individualistic nature of neighborhoods in our current world. No one seems to be interested in their neighbors besides Jeff (and he even mentions this in one of his clever lines) so much so that they aren't even concerned about what they're actually partaking in those rooms of theirs; the neighbors are never aware anyways. However, on the opposite side, it can be argued that people in current society are frankly too obsessed with another's conversation or activities. Apparently, we stick our noses in everyone's business, and it can be argued on a political scale as well. We do, in fact, watch our foreign neighbors far too closely with invasive binoculars, and in this manner, Jeff could actually be perceived as the villain of Rear Window in a way. In sum, there are countless perspectives one can judge this film from, occasionally conflicting with one another due to their opposing scopes.

Anyways, I can't place my eye on the exact reason, but actors were so much more capable of delivering with a charming character back in those days because the audience immediately recognizes the charisma of the film's protagonist as he daringly speaks out with clever, hilarious, and/or downright convincingly serious lines. His lovable personality is loud and clear with the story's development, and eventually, it's met with the beauty of Grace Kelly's character (Lisa). On a side note, as the intriguing plot progressed, the whole idea undoubtedly reminded me of Disturbia (2007).

Moving on, albeit its heavily suspenseful and compelling nature, there were some faults I happened to identify. First of all, did the entire case really mean that much to Jeff to the point where he just couldn't bring himself to yell out when Lisa, his future wife, was endangered by Mr. Thorwald's intimidating and threatening presence? There was a sense of awkwardness in that I was viewing this curious fellow experiencing anxiety with visible sweat pouring down his face though he still continues to watch on as his love nears possible death.

In addition, the result of this riveting mystery felt somewhat anticlimactic, and this slightly stemmed from the expectations one usually possesses upon viewing a Hitchcock film for there is usually a twist that shocks and awes the audience towards its end. We never got that from Rear Window as everything was exactly as it seemed. It could've been the main point of the feature, but still, I predicted the garden being the burial spot of the poor woman in the movie's first hour. And if the message of the film was that everything is truly as it seems, then why did another theme intrude the ending where you see a short, fat lover show up at the breathlessly gorgeous model's apartment? There and then, it seemed as if not everything is what it seems; so, already you have two contradictory (possible) themes on your plate. Which one was Hitchcock's actual intention? After all is said and done, Rear Window is a fantastic thriller with a not-as-satisfying end result, but it definitely impressed me the way most Hitchcock films have already. (North by Northwest is definitely next on my list.)
2013-09-30
Alfred Hitchcock top-notch suspense/thriller embroils a magazine photographer confined to wheelchair in killing
Alfred Hitchcock awesome intrigue/comedy in which a magazine photographer seeks diversion in watching his neighbors , often with a telephoto lens and binoculars , discovering a possible murder . Thrilling flick with funny moments , nice acting , adequate settings and funny dialogue . The tale is ordinary Hitchcock fare that plays and preys the senses . It involves a bewildered as well as hapless wheelchair bound photographer (James Stewart) because of a broken leg who spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them (Raymond Burr) has committed murder his spouse and dismembered the body . The photographer soon enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant sweetheart named Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), his visiting nurse called Stella (Thelma Ritter) and a Detective (Wendell Corey) to investigate the weird deeds .

This agreeable and often hilarious picture from master of suspense has a memorable scene after another and was one of the main Alfred Hitchcock films made for Paramount . In fact , at the time the set was the largest indoor set built at Paramount Studios . The entire picture was shot on one set, which required months of planning and construction . The film was shot quickly on the heels of Dial M for murder (1954), November 27 1953-February 26 1954 . Alfred Hitchcock's movies have become famous for a number of elements and special iconography : vertiginous height , blonde bombshells , voyeurism , long non-dialogue sequences , a matter of mistaken identity etc . This charming as well as inventive mystery movie has these particularities ; furthermore contains a fun intrigue , amusing situations and keeps the action at feverish pitch . The first part of this production is slow and artificial ; however , the rest of this suspense picture takes off at high speed . Interesting and intriguing screenplay adapted by John Michael Hayes based on a story by Cornell Woolrich . Screenwriter John Michael Hayes based Lisa on his own wife, who'd been a professional fashion model when they married . The original story by Cornell Woolrich had no love story and no additional neighbors for L.B. Jeffries to spy on, and those elements were created by Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes . Alfred Hitchcock's movies were known for featuring famous landmarks and he also was known for making his actors follow the script to the word, and in this movie the characters use their dialogue taken from an engaging as well as fun script . Very good acting by the great James Stewart as as a photographer who soon becomes convinced that one neighbor has killed his wife and Grace Kelly as gorgeous and elegant girlfriend , both of them make a marvelous duo . Grace Kelly made three of her eleven films with Hitchcock; this film, as well as Catch to a thief (1955) and Dial M for murder (1954), but Rear window film was thought of as the best . Excellent support cast such as Thelma Ritter , Wendell Corey , Kathryn Grant , Frank Cady and Raymond Burr . And of course , Hitch cameo , about a half hour into the film, winding the clock in the songwriter's apartment. Colorful and glimmer cinematography in Vistavision by Robert Burks , Alfred's ordinary cameraman , showing nice images from studio . The film negative was considerably damaged as a result of color dye fading as early as the 1960s , nearly all of the yellow image dyes had faded out. Despite fears that the film had been irrevocably damaged, preservation experts were able to restore the film nearly to its original coloration . Rousing as well as atmospheric score by the classic composer Franz Waxman .

The motion picture was stunningly directed by maestro of thriller Alfred Hitchcock . The film was unavailable for decades because its rights were bought back by Alfred Hitchcock and left as part of his legacy to his daughter. They've been known for long as the infamous "Five Lost Hitchcocks" among film buffs, and were re-released in theatres around 1984 after a 30-year absence. The others are The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The rope (1948), trouble with Harry (1955), and Vértigo (1958). This essential and fundamental Hitchcock will keep fascinated and thrilling right up until the edge-of-your-seat climax . And the American Film Institute ranked this as the #48 Greatest Movie of All Time and ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.
2015-02-10
A Thrill-less Thriller
*This review contains spoilers*

This is perhaps the most disappointing film I've seen all year. Despite brief moments of brilliance and a clever premise, Rear Window is a confused, often tedious, and mostly uninteresting thriller. The film's suspense is all contained within the last half hour, though much of the suspense is diluted through obvious character oversights and a curiously stupid villain.

L.B. Jefferies, a photographer, is confined to his apartment after breaking his leg on the job. With nothing else to do, he passes time by spying on the neighbors through their windows from his room, as he has an excellent view. But things get interesting (at least for Jefferies) when he notices suspicious behavior from one of the neighbors. Jefferies believes there to be a murder, but needs his girlfriend, Lisa and his nurse, Stella, to help him get evidence.

The majority of the film is just plain dull. While I like the premise that the whole film basically takes place from Jefferies' apartment as he spies on a potential murderer, the execution of this concept is sketchy at best.

It's sad how much potential this film had. Looking into the lives of others from Jefferies apartment is often entertaining and also innovative. The cinematography here is great, and the event organization impresses me. And yet, the film's greatest strength is also the film's greatest flaw.

The problem is, this aspect of the film is done so well, and made so interesting, it's nearly impossible to care at all about this relatively generic murder/paranoia case when you're much more curious about the various hinted sub-plots.

The murder doesn't actually occur until around 30 minutes into the movie, and there's a lot of speculation before any serious investigation. In other words, this movie is very dull for a very long time. For almost an hour and a half of this two hour film I was completely and utterly bored. The plot is dull, the sub-plots are under- used, the characters are mostly uninteresting, and there's little to care about.

However, once we get to the final half hour, things get interesting. A dog dies. There's an upset. And the suspense stars to kick in. Some daring moves are made, and then we get to absurdly idiotic finale. This is where I went from being interested in the main plot for the first time in the film, to almost yelling at the characters on screen for being such imbeciles.

We see the villain advancing towards Jefferies, intent on killing him. Jefferies fends him off by setting off camera flash-bulbs, which temporarily blind him. The villain does a number of stupid things here. For one, as opposed for charging the crippled Jefferies, the villain slowly plods towards him, giving Jefferies plenty of time to call for help, prepare flash bulbs, etc. Then, the villain has the stupidity not to shield his eyes from the flash. I could excuse this the first time and even the second time. But after four flashes, with Jefferies covering his eyes each time beforehand, you'd think the villain would have the sense to at least close his eyes.

The actors are fine, but no one gives a memorable performance. This may be due to the unmemorable characters. L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) has only two defining characteristics: he's cranky and he's nosy. Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) is the cliché love interest with little personality. The saving grace in the acting department is Thelma Ritter as Jefferies' nurse Stella. She's funny, she gets the film's only chuckles, and she's smart too (unlike most of the other characters).

The ambient music (composed by Franz Waxman) is unique and adds character to the environment. Mostly piano and jazz pieces, the score adds an element of almost-creepiness to the production.

I truly don't understand how this mostly mediocre "thriller" has achieved so much acclaim. Rear Window isn't outright bad, it's just not good. Rear Window's enormous potential is wasted on a generic murder case and a bland cast. I truly wish I had enjoyed this movie more, and yet, Rear Window gave me no reason to enjoy it.
2013-05-20
Really?!
- First of all, we don't know how Lisa fell in love with Jeff in the first place. They don't match. However we see that about 30 minutes, movie tries to develop some characters. It seems that Lisa and Stella exists in the script just to make it work.

- Doors are just open for public, even after Thorwald found out that Jeff is watching his apartment.

- Lots of unnecessary characters/windows that didn't add anything to the plot. It could be done in an hour.

- What was Thorwald's motivation? Even if he is a psycho and does this for fun, you must show that. No clue for this.

- Thorwald does almost all his works with windows open.

- Why would Thorwald bury something important in his flowerbed? And why would he take that thing to his apartment after killing the dog? Get rid of it already.

- They saw a ring and conclude that he killed his wife. He's a salesman. He could simply get the ring to sell.

- Thorwald walks toward Jeff's apartment like slow motion!!! And Jeff makes his speed even slower with those lights!!! What?

- At the end nobody sues Jeff for watching them through the window. Everyone is happy and windows are all open.

Overall, Thorwald is an idiot. This movie is about an idiot murderer. I don't know why people made this movie or Hitchcock that big.
2017-09-30
Classic Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock was one of the greatest film directors during the first half of the twentieth century. His films have become legends in their own right, and have established a style and genre all of their own. the term 'Hitchcockian' is now widely used for a film today where all the elements of a Hitchcock film have been exploited to the highest level. Very few films can break this mould and be truly considered in the same league as some of this great man's work.

"Rear Window" is probably in the same group as other memorable Hitchcock movies. They are all memorable, of course, but there are one or two classic Hitchcock movies - such as "North By Northwest" and, of course, "Psycho" - that are TRULY memorable. You can tell when a movie is memorable, for example, when "The Simpsons" parody the film in an entire episode - see "Bart Of Darkness", it's very good and very funny.

James Stewart is in the lead role, playing L.B.Jeffries, a photo-journalist who has broken his leg and spends his days staring out of his apartment window at all the neighbours. There is a very quiet, but quite apparent fascination here that Hitchcock explores brilliantly. Although it is never mentioned, and it is not strongly suggested, there is an element of something in this movie that helps to give the movie one of its classic Hitchcock themes - exploring taboo subjects very, very slightly. There's the newly-married couple who never seem to get out of bed, the ballet dancer who practises in her underwear, and the sculptor who lives underneath her. With the songwriter in his penthouse apartment providing incidental music, we also have the suicidal and lonely woman who craves the love of another, and the elderly couple who sleep outside on the balcony and use a basket to give their dog some exercise.

And then, of course, there's the Thorwalds. Here the main aspect of the plot comes into play. Jeffires becomes convinced that Mr Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr, who would go on to play "Ironside") has murdered his wife and done away with the body. Using his photographic lenses, Jeffires spies on Thorwald, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that will help prove his suspicions.

He is helped through this by three individuals. The first is his lover, Lisa Fremont (Played by the beautiful Grace Kelly), a woman who Jeffries believes is too perfect for him. The second is his masseuse and helper from the insurance company, Stella, (Thelma Ritter), who provides some of the funniest lines in the film with her dark, sometimes twisted humour. Finally, and the one who needs the most convincing of all, there's Jeffires' old friend from the air force, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey). However, his involvement only complicates matters, as he constantly brings out evidence that Mrs Thorwald is not dead, but simply on holiday.

The final half-hour or so of the film has quite a few twists and turns. The eventual conclusion, that Thorwald IS a murderer, is something you want to happen. this is another of those Hitchcockian elements. As an viewer you WANT the man to be a murderer, because you are so sure that Jeffries is right, and you yourself get frustrated when he is constantly proved wrong. There is an extremely tense scene at the end of the film involving Jeffries and Thorwald that puts you on the edge of your seat. The use of light in this scene particularly is excellent.

This is a very good film, and something to watch either with a loved one or just by yourself. Stewart is excellent and constantly dominates the screen even if he is stuck in a wheelchair for most of the film. Grace Kelly is very talented as an actress, and there are one or two rather daring scenes for the 1950s that show you that Hitchcock was full aware of the changing attitudes towards this sort of thing. I also think that Thelma Ritter deserves a mention, as she holds the film together with her witty comments and is largely ignored by some reviewers.

But the real stars are the neighbours of Jeffires. The whole film is shot from the room in Jeffries' apartment, which is in itself a wonderful idea. Whenever we see through that window something new and interesting is happening for each of the neighbours - be it witty, like the newly wed woman who can't seem to get enough, or tragic, like the lonely woman who lives underneath the Thorwalds. The final scene shows Jeffries, not only with two legs broken, but also facing away from the window. He does not need to watch his neighbours any more. this is a nice touch, and it symbolises that all is going to go well for our friend Jeffries. Plus Grace Kelly is on his couch, so that's a bonus as well!
2005-03-24
Lots to see, even on a third viewing
Made around the same time that televisions started to become an essential part of the home, 'Rear Window' paints an interesting time capsule of a society devoid of television, where the only entertainment if stuck at home all day is watching the neighbours' activities. In fact, 'Rear Window' could even be seen as a film about television, with Jeffries, the protagonist, switching views of other apartments just like a man constantly changing channels on his television set. As Thelma Ritter's character Stella says, "We have become a race of peeping toms", relating to a key issue of the film: the voyeuristic tendencies of society.

Although it would not be made for another twelve years, the film bears a strong resemblance to 'Blowup', with Jeffries stating that "right now, I'd welcome trouble", an indication that his mind is overactive, searching for something interesting to follow. And with his detective friend, a character representing the devil's advocate, we are constantly hanging on the edge, weighing up the evidence for ourselves. We are also able to do more investigating than what the characters themselves conduct. In different windows, different events occur, some of which the protagonists note, and others of which we ourselves observe only.

The cinematography helps a lot in serving this cause. There are at least a couple of shots that scan the courtyard and then go back into Jeffries' apartment. These shots at first appear to be taken from the perspective of the characters, but since they do not end on the characters looking out the window, Hitchcock establishes a separation between us and the characters. We are learning more about what is happening outside when they are distracted. The way we are introduced to Jeffries also probes us to investigate: first we see his leg, then photos of accidents, and only later do we realise that the photographs are of potential accidents, rather than photos of his accident.

The opening shots of the film are amazing. Three blinds are slowly opened in the background as the main credits roll, just like how we are slowly opening our eyes as the film begins. Then the camera goes through the window, explores the courtyard, and finally ends up inside Jeffries' apartment, and on a perfectly focused shot of Jeffries. Another great shot is Lisa's first scene, where she kisses Jeffries in slow motion, almost as if it is a dream. The film is full of great shots and excellent camera-work, and to think - Hitchcock probably had to call most of those shots from the distance! It's a very fine directorial achievement.

Speaking of Hitchcock, his cameo here serves more purpose than in any other film of his. Before Thorwald notices that he is being watched, Hitch is the only character to actually look back at Jeffries. And aside from that, it's quite interesting with the whole relationship that is then established between director, actor, film, audience: the whole chain that is controlling what we are seeing. If nothing else, Hitch's cameo reminds us that even though we see more than what the characters are see, we only ever see ourselves what he allows us to see.
2007-02-11
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