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