Rear Window (1954)

Rear WindowRearWindow
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by John Michael Hayes based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich
1954/USA
Paramount Pictures/Patron, Inc.
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#274 of 100 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Lisa: I’m not much on rear window ethics.

It seems this movie is endlessly re-watchable.  It is one of my very favorite Hitchcock films.

Jeff Jeffries (James Stewart) is in a hip-high cast and wheelchair, having broken a leg while photographing a car race.  To fill the hours, he gazes into the apartments across the way from his and makes up little stories about the inhabitants in his head.  The monotony is occasionally broken by visits from insurance nurse (what happened to those?) Stella (Thelma Ritter) and girlfriend Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly).

Lisa is angling hard for a marriage proposal but Jeff is able to resist her considerable charms.  He believes the fashion model could not share the life of an active photo-journalist who is sent to hot spots all over the world.  The lives of the married couples across from him are also discouraging.

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Over time, Jeff begins to suspect that a salesman (Raymond Burr) has murdered his invalid wife.  He pieces together a mountain of circumstantial evidence but has no actual proof. His detective buddy Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey) thinks he is making things up.  But, to his surprise, Lisa proves to be a brave and enthusiastic investigator.

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How anyone could possibly resist Grace Kelly is beyond me.  This is surely her sexiest performance and Hitchcock caressingly photographs every ounce of her appeal.  But Stewart’s cold feet are key to the movie, which is as much about commitment phobia as anything else.  We also have the very ingenious sets to enjoy and some questions about voyeurism, Stewart’s and our own, to ask ourselves.  This time I actually almost felt sorry for Raymond Burr.  Anyway, I cannot think of a single thing I would change about this movie.  Very highly recommended.

Rear Window was nominated for Academy Awards in the following categories:  Best Director; Best Writing, Screenplay; Best Cinematography, Color; and Best Sound, Recording.

Re-Release Trailer

7 thoughts on “Rear Window (1954)

  1. REAR WINDOW is also on my “perfect” movie list! Yummy Grace. Marvelous Thelma. Trapped Jimmy. And Villainous Raymond Burr. It may even be my favorite Hitchcock. Though, I do love NOTORIOUS, as any right thinking person would!

    • I actually prefer Rear Window to the more critically acclaimed Vertigo. Notorious is a personal favorite. But there are so many good ones to choose from.

  2. It’s one of my favorite Hitchcocks as well. It’s been fifteen years or more since I saw it! I was really obsessed with it for a few years and I saw it five or six times. Since then I’ve been obsessed with The Birds and Suspicion and more recently Dial M for Murder.
    I really need to see Rear Window again. (Although I think she’s sexiest in Dial M for Murder.)
    (The other Hitchcock film I was obsessed with was Shadow of a Doubt, but I saw that fairly recently. So great! I saw Notorious about the same time and I think I could get obsessed with that as well.)

    • I’m not a man so probably shouldn’t judge any sexiness contests for women. But oh those kisses in Rear Window! Actually, if I were forced to pick a single favorite Hitchcock movie, it would be Notorious on most days.

      • I can never quite pick between Suspicion and The Birds as my favorite Hitchcock.
        Notorious is my favorite among the Hitchcocks I’ve only seen once.

  3. This is an awesome movie in every way possible. I love thet it plays the same tricks on you as it does Jeffries. What conclusions are we to make from what we see and what about the things we have missed?
    You are right about the commitment issue. I do not think I paid enough attention to that when I saw it.

    • It’s the little things that count apparently. I just realized that the main murder evidence in the end was whether the wedding ring and bag were still in the apartment. Talk about a McGuffin! And it doesn’t matter in the least.

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