director: alfred hitchcock (psycho, north by northwest)
starring: james stewart, grace kelly, raymond burr and thelma ritter
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.
Recuperating from a broken leg, professional photographer L. B. "Jeff" Jefferies is confined to a wheelchair in his apartment in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. His rear window looks out onto a courtyard and other apartments. During an intense heat wave, he watches his neighbors, who keep their windows open to stay cool. Among them are a middle-aged couple with a small dog that likes digging in the flower garden and Lars Thorwald, a traveling jewelry salesman with a bedridden wife. But as Jeff continues to watch he is convinced that one of his neighbors has committed a murder.
Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors of all time and even though I LOVE his other films, Rear Window is not only my all time favorite Hitchcock film but it even features in my top ten films of all time. It is cinematic perfection.
Rear Window is such a simplistic and, some would argue, limiting idea - at first glance. Ninety nine percent of the film happens within Jeff’s apartment. In the hands of nearly any other director, this film wouldn’t be half the film that it is. But in Hitchcock’s hands this film is filled with edge of your seat suspense and explores themes that are still relevant nearly seventy years later.
The story begins slowly as Jeff, bored because he is confined to his apartment, watches his neighbors from his apartment window. And little by little, as he observes more of his neighbors the tension is ratched up to such a height that it feels as though it's screaming off the screen.
The cast of Rear Window is utterly superb. The everyman, likeable charisma of James Stewart, the divinely stunning Grace Kelly to the menace lurking beneath the polished surface that is Raymond Burr this cast is to die for.
Not only one of Hitchcock’s best films, Rear Window is one of the best films ever to be produced. A cinematic classic.