Reviewed bytelegonusVote: 9/10/10
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, wittily written by John Michael Hayes,is one of his many films I think of as much of a technical exercise asanything else. It is in this sense like his silent The Lodger, thestatic, confined Lifeboat, and the cut-less, one set Rope. Consideredin this light it is a cold masterpiece, playing more with theaudience's thoughts and fears than with its softer, more personalemotions. As such, it is a very cerebral and satisfying piece of work.The plot is deceptively simple: a photographer (James Stewart) is stuckindoors with his leg in a cast during a hot New York summer. Hissocialite girl-friend (Grace Kelly) is eager to marry him but Stewarthas his doubts, since he lives a wandering life and is from a differentsocial class. He spends most of his time idling about and playing withhis camera. In time he becomes a voyeur (which he probably already is,to a degree) and begins to observe his neighbors' private lives, as heviews them through his lens in the courtyard. He develops attitudestoward each of them, ranging from mild amusement to empathy to sexualinterest, depending on who he's looking at. Without realizing it he isreally looking at different aspects of either himself or hisrelationship with Kelly. The courtyard is a kind of mirror of his soul.These people and their predicaments represent different sides of his(and to a lesser extent Miss Kelly's) personality, offering glimpses ofpotential past, present and future selves; and it is not always aflattering picture. The newlyweds are continually having sex; MissTorso is a beautiful young woman who entertains many suitors; there isa childless, somewhat pathetic-seeming middle-aged couple who dote overa pet dog; Miss Lonelyhearts is a depressed, aging spinster with noapparent friends; and the young, bachelor song-writer, when he isn'ttrying to compose songs, is either throwing parties or fits. Then thereare the Thorwalds, a squabbling couple across the way. Stewart is atfirst only slightly interested in them until Mrs. Thorwald disappearsand her husband starts going out at night carrying paper parcels thatlook like they came from a butcher shop. Soon Stewart is,understandably, suspicious. He convinces Kelly that something is amiss,but has trouble with his detective friend. His nurse Stella agrees thatsomething is wrong across the courtyard, and the threesome becomeamateur detectives. Rear Window is great fun. It's a thriller, aromance, a mystery, and at times a comedy of manners. The actors allgive superb, unflashy performances. Hitchcock had been making moviesfor three decades by the time he undertook this one, and he knewexactly what he was doing; everything happens as it should, on time,with no fuss or bother. The courtyard set is magnificently designed andphotographed; it looks both artificial and realistic, and seems almostto change at times, as circumstances dictate. This is, after Dial M ForMurder, Hitchcock's first truly 'fifties' film, which is to say it is afar cry from the genteel romances and spy stuff he'd been doing before.There's less use of atmosphere here, as a new, more independentdirector was emerging, decidedly post-Selznick, often using color.Hitchcock is playing a sort game of cinematic chess, moving people andthings around here and there, changing camera angles slyly, nevershowing his hand. The film lacks only warmth. All sorts of learnedbooks and articles have been written about this picture, some of themquite silly; all at least partly right. This is at times a profoundfilm, but it also aims to entertain, it has a light touch, and it canbe scary, it's romantic about couples and cynical about people. There'sa little bit of everything in it,--it's a work of art.
Reviewed byKristine (email@example.com)Vote: 10/10/10
Finally, I watched "Rear Window" by famous Alfred Hitchcock. First off,I saw this movie on the top 250, and it's #14 on top of that! I mean,it's gotta be great or a classic, right? Also, I'm a fan of theSimpsons, and I got the 6th season where Bart breaks his leg and has towatch the kids outside and accuses Flanders of murdering his wife,Maude. I watched it with commentary and the writers said this was takenfrom the movie "Rear Window", I had to see this movie! I know it soundssilly that I was more inspired by a show, but it's a good reference ifit's from The Simpsons.
"Rear Window" is an excellent movie and a great classic that shouldnever be forgotten! After 51 years, this is still a well talked aboutmovie and I can see why. Jimmy Stewart, he's just so great as L.B., Iloved his madness and his dark comical role. He doesn't even try, butyou can't help but laugh at a lot of his lines, the way he looks, andthe way he presents every scene. He didn't have a lot of movement, heis confined to a wheel chair, but he is so effective and perfect. Noone could have replaced him as L.B., he's a terrific actor! GraceKelly, what a beauty! Beauty and talent, what a great combination andshe had it. Playing Liza, I loved her character so much. She startedout as this extremely feminine lovely woman who is struggling withL.B., because he is having doubts about marrying her, and you can tellshe loves him so much and is willing to do anything for him and to maketheir lives work, despite his adventurous side as a photographer andher being an indoor kitten. When L.B. talks of the murder to Liza, sheis doubtful but never dismisses that it could be a possibility, andstays with him into the end. She finally goes into danger and grabs itby the you know what and wins L.B.'s heart.
I loved the ending, to me it was just one more good laugh with L.B. andLiza. I won't tell, you'll just have to trust me, it was a brilliantway to breath and smile again after all the suspense and drama. "RearWindow" is a true classic and I'm extremely grateful to the reviewersof IMDb who saw this movie and gave it great reviews, and the writersof The Simpsons! If it were not for you guys, I nor other members of mygeneration would probably not view it! Let's keep this classic alive!
Reviewed byFlickJunkie-2Vote: 10/10/10
Alfred Hitchcock is considered by most to be the master of suspense. Ibelieve he was also a master of understanding human nature. He intuitivelyunderstood that human beings are voyeurs by nature, not in the pervertedsense, but in the curious sense. We are a species that slows down to lookat accident scenes and steals furtive glances at lovers in the park who areoblivious to everything but each other. A major appeal of cinema andtelevision is that they offer us an opportunity for guilt free voyeurism. When we watch a film, aren't we in essence looking through a window andwatching people who behave as if they don't realize we arethere?
Hitchcock realized this and took voyeurism to the next level, allowing us towatch a voyeur as he watched others. While `Rear Window' as a whole isprobably not quite at a level with `Vertigo' (which was far more suspensefuland mysterious with a powerful musical score) as a cinematic accomplishment,it is more seductive because it strikes closer to our human obsessions. Hitchcock's mastery is most evident in his subtle use of reaction scenes bythe various characters. We watch an event that Jeff (James Stewart) iswatching and then Hitchcock immediately cuts to his reaction. This is donerepeatedly in various layers even with the other tenants as they interactwith one another. For instance, in the scene with Miss Lonelyheart (JudithEvelyn), we see her throw out the man who made a pass at her and then we seeher reaction after she slams the door, followed by the reaction of Jeff andLisa (Grace Kelly). In another scene, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) seesLisa's nightclothes and presumes she will be staying the night. Hitchcockshows the suitcase, then Doyle's reaction, and then he goes to Jeff whopoints his finger at him and says `Be Careful, Tom'. This elegant scenetakes a few seconds and speaks volumes with little dialogue. Such techniquegets the viewer fully involved, because if we were there this is exactlywhat we would be doing, watching the unfolding events and then seeing howothers around us responded. In essence, it puts us in the room withthem.
Hitchcock was a stickler for detail. For instance, he aimed the openwindows so they would show subtle reflections of places in the apartment wecouldn't see directly. However, there were certain details included orexcluded that were inexplicable. Would Thorwold really be scrubbing thewalls with the blinds open? Would Lisa be conspicuously waving at Jeffwhile Stella (Thelma Ritter) was digging up the garden? Moreover, wouldn'tLisa have taken off her high heels before climbing a wall and then a fireescape? This film had numerous small incongruities that are normally absentfrom Hitchcock films. Though these are picayune criticisms, they arepainfully obvious in the film of a director known to be a compulsiveperfectionist.
The acting is superb in this film. Jimmy Stewart is unabashedly obsessed asthe lead character. Photographers have an innate visual perceptiveness andthe ability to tell a story with an image and Stewart adopts this mindsetperfectly. Grace Kelly has often been accused of being the `Ice Maiden' inher films, yet in this film she is assertive and even reckless. Though coolat times, she is often playful and rambunctious. I always enjoy ThelmaRitter's performances for their honesty and earthiness and this is anotherexample of a character actor at her best. Raymond Burr often doesn't getthe recognition he deserves for this role, which is mostly shot at adistance with very few lines. Yet, he imbues Thurwold with a loomingnefariousness using predominantly physical acting.
This film was rated number 42 on AFI's top 100 of the century sandwichedbetween `Psycho' (#18) and `Vertigo' (#61). I personally think more highlyof `Vertigo' but it is a minor distinction, because I rated them both 10/10. `Rear Window' is a classic, a masterpiece of filmmaking technique from adirector who was a true pioneer of suspense.
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.