|Rear Window (Collector's Edition)
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Like the Greenwich Village courtyard view from its titular portal, Alfred Hitchcock's classic Rear Window is both confined and multileveled: both its story and visual perspective are dictated by its protagonist's imprisonment in his apartment, convalescing in a wheelchair, from which both he and the audience observe the lives of his neighbors. Cheerful voyeurism, as well as the behavior glimpsed among the various tenants, affords a droll comic atmosphere that gradually darkens when he sees clues to what may be a murder.
Photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (James Stewart) is, in fact, a voyeur by trade, a professional photographer sidelined by an accident while on assignment. His immersion in the human drama (and comedy) visible from his window is a by-product of boredom, underlined by the disapproval of his girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly), and a wisecracking visiting nurse (Thelma Ritter). Yet when the invalid wife of Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) disappears, Jeff enlists the two women to help him to determine whether she's really left town, as Thorwald insists, or been murdered.
Hitchcock scholar Donald Spoto convincingly argues that the crime at the center of this mystery is the MacGuffin--a mere pretext--in a film that's more interested in the implications of Jeff's sentinel perspective. We actually learn more about the lives of the other neighbors (given generic names by Jeff, even as he's drawn into their lives) he, and we, watch undetected than we do the putative murderer and his victim. Jeff's evident fear of intimacy and commitment with the elegant, adoring Lisa provides the other vital thread to the script, one woven not only into the couple's own relationship, but reflected and even commented upon through the various neighbors' lives.
At minimum, Hitchcock's skill at making us accomplices to Jeff's spying, coupled with an ingenious escalation of suspense as the teasingly vague evidence coalesces into ominous proof, deliver a superb thriller spiked with droll humor, right up to its nail-biting, nightmarish climax. At deeper levels, however, Rear Window plumbs issues of moral responsibility and emotional honesty, while offering further proof (were any needed) of the director's brilliance as a visual storyteller. --Sam Sutherland
When a broken leg forces photographer stewart to become wheelchair-bound in his new york city apartment he amuses himself by spying on his neighbors and soon becomes obsessed when he thinks he has witnessed a murder. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 05/05/2009 Starring: James Stewart Wendell Corey Run time: 112 minutes Rating: Pg Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock made approximately zero good movies in his life except maybe The Birds, which I liked a lot. But most of his movies, including and especially Rear Window are just two hours of people sitting around talking about suspenseful things. I know because they're old these movies are supposed to be so great, but you can't tell me that Rear Window is as exciting as a movie like Disturbia!!! I guess you can tell me that, but I don't plan to listen to you.
Here's what happens in Rear Window:
No, I didn't make a mistake in that paragraph. I was proving a point that nothing happens (by leaving a lot of blank space after the colon). It's a movie about Jimmy Stewart sitting in a wheelchair and watching real action happen through binoculars. Guess what, Alfred Hitchcock? Maybe it would have been a better movie if we had been watching whatever was going on in that other building and not wasted our time watching the guy who was watching all the cool stuff go down!
That would be like if Steven Spielberg decided to make E.T. a story about a scientist in a lab coat who does nothing for 2 hours and then at the end he gets to poke and prod a little alien fella for about a second. Hey, Steven Spielberg: thanks for not making that movie!!!
Anyway, Rear Window is not recommended for the young or the young at heart, but maybe for the young at brain....more info
- Still A Great Movie!
I saw this movie on DVD recently after having not seen in for many years. Grace Kelley is a beautiful as we all remember her and Jimmy Stewart is as handsome. I always like the part about "Miss Lonely Hearts"...somehow that part always "gets to me". And, I noticed this time that Mr. Hitchcock appears in one scene in the apartment of the single guy with the piano. I don't think I noticed that before. I think everyone should see this movie at least once. It's not quite as "exciting" as the loud and noisy "Pirates of The Caribbean"; but I'd rather watch "Rear Window" anyday over "The Pirates"---it's "easier on the ears"! And, it has "heart". Email:boland7214@aol....more info
- A murderer would never parade his crime in front of an open window.
This is my second favorite Hitchcock movie and for one big reason - Jimmy Stewart! Jimmy steals the scene and often it is just him on the screen, so it's a good thing. Grace Kelly is heavenly, as always, as his girlfriend. Jimmy Stewart plays L.B. Jeffries, a wheelchair bound photographer who spends his time spying on his neighbors from his apartment window when he begins to suspect one of them of murder. This movie, with it's excellent cinematography (duh! It's Hitchcock), shows you the world through Jimmy Stewart's eyes of the apartment complex. Tension mounts as you see what Jimmy sees. You find yourself asking the same question: Did the man really kill his wife? Hitchcock takes you on a rollercoaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I have noticed that many TV shows throughout the years have used this movie premise as a TV episode (two that come to mind are ALF - remember ALF?! - and The Simpsons). This is definitely a must-see Hitchcock movie and probably the best of the Jimmy Stewart/Hitchcock collaborations (although Vertigo was also great)....more info
- Rear Window
One of the most celebrated films in history, this classic takes its time, but once the tension starts building, it doesn't stop until the heart-pounding conclusion is upon you. A new peak for Hitchcock in blending the story of a crime that may have happened with the dark side of human obsession--in this case, voyeurism. The movie marks a high point for James Stewart, who would be remembered as Hitchcock's most human and vulnerable hero. And who can resist the bewitching Grace Kelly?...more info
- One of Alfred's Best
This is one of Alfred Hitchcock's best. It is a lot of fun to watch. The behind the scenes film is enjoyable, also. I highly recommend this to anyone that is an Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart and/or a classic (suspense) movie fan....more info
This film does a good job of creating a suspenseful atmosphere by making the audience the voyeur, however it was a little ridiculous at times. Anyone saying anything negative about a Hitchcock film is sure raise a few eyebrows because some people seem to feel everything he churned out was remarkable. This film was less than remarkable and if it didn't have the Hitchcock name on it, it would probably be rated lower.
Most of the problems that I had with Rear Window had nothing to do with Hitchcock though. In fact, I would say that the concept was better than the screenplay and, if anything, Hitchcock did a good job at making a fairly weak screenplay into a watchable movie.
Most of the character's behavior was absurd at best. Maybe there were time/money constraints which prohibited a plausible ending but whatever the reason, the ending was ridiculous. If Jimmy Stewart knew that the suspected murderer Raymond Burr saw him, why would he tell the Nurse to go bail out Grace Kelly and leave him alone in a wheel chair? Why would he answer a phone (without knowing who's on the other end) and immediately start talking about the murderer? Because he thought it was his friend that he just got off of the phone with? Stupid. Obviously, people can be that stupid in real life but I guess I just expected more than that from this film. I also found Raymond Burr's desire to throw Jimmy Stewart out of the window retarded. Let's see, someone has "evidence" that I committed a murder so why don't I give them absolute evidence by throwing a man out of a window while the police are right outside. This made no sense whatsoever.
Direction = A-
Cinematography = A
Screenplay = C-
Overall Acting = B
Music Score = D
Overall a decent movie but hardly the classic that many seem to think it is. ...more info
- 5 stars - with a caveat!
I teach this work as the pinnacle of Hitchcock's oeuvre in a film class, and I can literally watch it back-to-back, once every 10 weeks, and not get tired of it. It is so fantastically done on all fronts that it holds up beyond nearly all other popular films in the history of cinema.
This is a well-done DVD with a truly fascinating doc on the second disk that gives all kinds of great inside information about not only the work itself, but Hitchcock's methods. My caveat is for the DVD transfer. One of my students worked for years at a restoration facility and when I showed him this DVD, he made disgusted noises at the cheap quality of the digital transfer. Apparently this is the way it's done nowadays because studios are too cheap to go in by hand and restore 35mm, so the pixillation is noticeable during dolly and panning shots, as are the fluctuations in color. However, this isn't exactly a posh Blu-Ray, and I suppose we should be thankful the Hitchcock 5 exist in the public domain at all, so 5 stars it is. :)...more info
- An intriguing puzzle
I fell asleep when I tried to watch the film the first time, so I attempted the next morning. Many scenes of in-action, with what I learned later to be one of Hitchcock's blessings upon film, the subjective point of view, although when watching it the first time, was very boring. My second watching proved much more fruitful and I enjoyed puzzling out what was going to happen. For once I was actually wrong about the outcome of the movie, which surprised me. I did identify with the main character; that is a line of work I would like to be in, and often I find myself in the same conundrum he himself is in. The Everyman worked perfectly for me....more info
- View from the rear and hidden.
For me, the most interesting aspect of this film was the relationship between the roles of James Stewart and Grace Kelly. As the movie progresses, it becomes ever more puzzling to understand why would a woman, so incredibly intelligent, beautiful, elegant and with her own career, pursue a rude man nineteen years her senior, unkempt, with a somewhat dirty and greasy look, who treats her with sarcasm and condescension without any obvious reason. Her behavior is even more unexplained when he tells her openly that if they parted, he would not miss her. Yet she comes back! And she does not impress as a submissive character, so why does she bother with him?
I believe there is a power game between them, and her pride is hurt when he does not throw himself at her feet, perhaps he is the first man to resist her charms. She doesn't know why but wants to discover, and she is determined to bring him to his knees, with him offering the wedding ring. Once that happens, her game will be won and she would leave. We can see how she takes an upper hand in the final scene, after her heroic break-in to the murderer's apartment, after that james' hero has no chance but to surrender, and immediately, as he is sleeping so obediently, like a baby, and in her care, she discards the book of their agreed-upon exotic voyages that she promised to him and turns instead to the most recent issue of Bazaar, her TRUE passion of fashion!!! What a great battle of two egos, and poor James is totally defeated.
His weakness and impotency is finally reveled in a scene when he sees her straggling with the murderer, and James does nothing except pathetically screaming, he is so passive at this moment, that we know his deep-hidden secret of incapacity, which is a source of his rudeness and cold reaction towards her. We know that the power table is turning then, when she becomes a heroine and he is just a hopeless spectator and coward. She is clearly the winner of the game.
The film is a physiological masterpiece, and is worth watching alone for Grace's gowns.
- ANOTHER GREAT CLASSIC HITCHCOCK MASTERPIECE!!
If anyone has not seen this movie let alone own it GO RENT IT NOW. But if you are a big movie buff and lover like I am YOU HAVE TO ADD IT TO YOUR COLLECTION. The story is a little perverted and weird but it get interesting. Grace Kelly once again looks gorgeous(she was alo in To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant)and I actually saw the real CHANEL black/white gown she wore at an exhibit. James Stewart was much better in this than Vertigo. I didn't like Vertigo so much. Do you notice how Hitchcock uses Blondes? Kim Novak(she was a natural brunette) was in Vertigo with Stewart. Raymond Burr was very good as the murdering husband. YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE AND OWN IT IN YOUR COLLECTION. ...more info
- Necessity is the Mother of Invention
For a director who once described his actors as cattle and who said the best way to direct them is to treat them as cattle (he said this as a joke by way); Alfred Hitchcock sure got the best out of his actors.
Mr. Hitchcock never really got the credit he deserved for most of his acting performances in his films: especially with his work with leading and supporting female actresses. Part of the reasoning may be due to the fact that he did work with the best talent in Hollywood. But look at his past films and you will see characters that come alive, heartfelt, and feel lived in. There's extreme depth, realism, and complexity to most of his movie characters.
In his 1954 classic, Rear Window, Hitchcock gets career performances from Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. Both actors carry this film to heights that would not have occurred with lesser talent. The gold nugget is that Stewart and Kelly both do something that is extremely difficult for an actor/actress to achieve on screen.
They don't act, they re-act.
It's very difficult for an actor/actress to achieve this effect for a sustained period of time. There's always that motor or inner instinct telling the actor that they have to do something, say something, or show the motivation of the character. It basically takes trust. Trust in the story and directing.
I see a lot of this reactionary acting in Asian cinema. In particular Japanese films. The effect is still the same, but in Asian cinema we get the reactionary shots via conversation(more so than American cinema). For example, when we see a shot of the person listening and not the character talking it creates a very compelling shot. A surprise element comes into play.
In Rear Window the effect is different as we see Kelly and Stewart reacting to off screen stimuli. By using subtle gestures and reactions we get inside the heads of the two characters. We feel thier confusion, anxiety, and bewilderment. The subtlety of the acting is so precise in its realism that the audience feels that they are a 3rd person voyeur. It's this talent that the actors bring to the table and the set up of the story that makes this film work.
Mr. Hitchcock was the inventor of the POV shot as we know of it today and here he creates breathtaking POV shots, wonderful pacing, and unique camera angles to create "pure cinema", but believe me it's the strong acting and compelling story that makes this film an endearing classic....more info
- The Moose Hole - It Had to be Murder
Based on the Cornell Woolrich short story `It Had to be Murder' (penned under the name William Irish), director Alfred Hitchcock takes his long-time obsession with sexual voyeurism to an entirely new level. This time it revolves around a man left impotent, so-to-speak, from an accident (shown in the beginning in a photo from a car accident at a race track) which has left his leg broken and confines him to a wheelchair. The man's sole source of amusement and pleasure during the day (and occasionally in the evening) is intruding on his neighbors' privacy from the comfort of his apartment window and observing their daily lives. There are three frames in which the brilliant cinematography of the film is shaped. The first comes from the point-of-view of Mr. Hitchcock's motion-picture camera. The second is from Stewart's binoculars (only briefly) and his high-powered telephoto lens (meant of course to be sexually suggestive). And the third is straight from the window itself. Nearly every shot in Rear Window, with the exception of a few, are seen entirely from the point-of-view of James Stewart's character, Jeff. While confined in this solitary apartment building, the audience sees exactly what he sees; nothing more and nothing less. The audience is placed in the same emotional element as Jefferies, whether it is frustration, excitement, or fear. We are craning our necks just as he is to get even the tiniest glimpse of what we assume is taking place inside Thorwald's apartment - murder.
Yet at the same time we the audience struggle with ourselves. We are all fully aware that human beings are not infallible and therefore are easily susceptible to jumping to conclusion for whatever reasons or motives, whether it stems from prejudice, ignorance, or something else entirely. This makes Lars Thorwald a sympathetic villain in a way. Ironically, Jefferies who jumps to the conclusion that Thorwald is guilty of murdering his own wife without any circumstantial evidence to prove it cautions Detective Doyle "Careful, Tom", as he glances at the contents of Lisa's suitcase which contains pink lingerie as if to suggest that she will staying the night at his place. All the same however we are still left with a sense of uneasiness. The scene in which Lars confronts Lisa and physically assaults her in his apartment before the police arrive on the scene is the precise moment which proves his guilt to us. Some may suggest rather that it is the death of the `dog who knew too much' but there was no direct proof he committed this violent crime, though audiences are meant to believe he did.
Alfred Hitchcock brings up through the course of the film the analytical topic of `rear window ethics'. Is it right for a man or woman to spy on one's neighbor even if it turns out that the person is indeed guilt of murder? Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa, brings up this exact argument just when it seems as though their little investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Thorwald has hit a dead-end. Then, moments later, a woman's scream is heard outside. The little dog which belonged to the couple living on the fire escape is found dead with its neck broken as if strangled. The distraught woman who owned the dog cries out, ""Which one of you did it? Which one of you killed my dog? You don't know the meaning of the word 'neighbor.' Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies, but none of you do", as if to directly counter Lisa's argument a few minutes earlier.
Nearly as entertaining and enthralling as the murder mystery which ultimately shapes the main course of the picture, the distinctive subplots of the assorted neighbors surrounding L.B. Jefferies's apartment building stands as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finer touches in Rear Window. The set itself is simply breathtaking. An impressive feat of engineering and filmmaking, it was built entirely within the confines of a Paramount studio soundstage with several of the apartments themselves fully furnished. Georgine Darcy, for example, who plays the exquisitely sensual Miss Torso, used her apartment as if it were her real home, relaxing in between takes. Her character of course was the most blatant examples in this Rear Window of Hitchcock willfully taunting the Production Code, although there were plenty more besides this one background character. The director nonetheless enjoyed nearly every minute of it. In order to get around the complication of filming a leering depiction of Miss Torso, Hitchcock shot her scenes in three ways - one topless, one with her wearing white undergarments, and the other with her wearing black undergarments. Playing all three versions off the Production Code, he was able to keep intact all the scenes he intended for her by making it appear as though one version was less sexually suggestive then the other two.
In addition to Miss Torso, there is one scene in particular in which Lisa proposes to Jeff that she be allowed to spend the night in his apartment is oozing with double entendres. While proving to him that she can live out a suitcase like he can she retorts, "I'll bet yours isn't this small?" And as she exposes the contents of her little suitcase, "Compact, but, uh, ample enough", pink lingerie is revealed. The daunting eloquence of Grace Kelly makes this scene all the more erotically charged.
Two subplots which ultimately converge, to quote the insurance nurse Stella, like `two taxis on Broadway' and shift from agonizing heartbreak to emotional euphoria are those of the Composer and Miss Lonelyheart. Miss Lonelyheart's introduction is truly lamentable with her enacting a scene in which a gentlemen caller pays her a visit, complete with fine wine for toasting, while in the distance Jefferies raises a glass of wine toasting her as Lisa prepares an intimate dinner in the background. This of course is all perfectly ironic, demonstrating Jefferies's emotional distance from Lisa and his inability to commit to her, choosing instead to immerse himself in his `rear window' world as he has done for the past six weeks. Adding to the paradox, Bing Crosby's `To See You Is To Love You' plays in the distance as Miss Lonelyheart snaps back to reality, realizes she is alone, and buries her head in her arms and weeps.
The next we see of both the Composer and Miss Lonelyheart, alcohol is heavily involved (the Composer staggers into his apartment drunk and Miss Lonelyheart takes several stiff drinks before leaving her apartment searching for male company). In yet another slight tinge of irony, Lisa starring out the window of the apartment listening to a tune on the wind says, "Where does a man get inspiration to write a song like that?" The Composer is playing the tune called `Mona Lisa' just as Miss Lonelyheart is sexually assaulted by a man who she proceeds to toss out of her apartment and then collapses on her couch weeping. The scene and tune itself can be interpreted two ways - for the Composer it is instantly identified with the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci (considered his muse) while for Miss Lonelyheart it is linked with the lyrics of the Nate King Cole song of the same name which references sexual assault.
Her suicide attempt (complete with suicide note, Bible, and an overdose of sleeping pills) at the precise moment Jefferies is calling Thorwald's apartment to warn Lisa of his impending return make Jefferies next move (should he call the police in order to stop Miss Lonelyheart from killing herself or try and save the woman he supposedly loves by warning her of Lars Thornwald's return to the apartment) all the more intense. It culminates with Miss Not-So-Lonelyheart paying the Composer a visit whose song he has been composing all this time and what ultimately stopped her from taking her own life.
Of course there is nothing humorous about a cute little dog having its neck broken but if one could find some amusement in this scene then it would have to be Lisa's line upon realizing that the dog was digging up something in Thornwald's garden, "Maybe he knew too much". This of course is a jab at Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Much (Stewart in interviews referred to the little pup as `The Dog Who Knew Too Much), a remake of which he was currently working on to start James Stewart.
As Jefferies explains to Stella, his insurance nurse, he's not ready for marriage and that Lisa, his girlfriend, is too `Park Avenue' for his lifestyle, as he puts it a `camera bum who never has more than a week's salary in the bank', he stares into an apartment where a newlywed couple has just moved. From this moment on until the end of the film, every time Jefferies looks toward their apartment window either the shades are closed or the husband in his underwear sticks his head outside to get a breath of fresh air only to be called back by his sexually unquenchable newlywed wife. The irony of this couple is that when the husband announces to his newlywed wife at the end of the film that he is quitting his job, the honeymoon is officially over, both literally and figuratively, leaving her to exclaim to him, "But if you'd told me you quit your job, we wouldn't have gotten married". In contrast to the relationship between Jefferies and Lisa, it leaves their future together rather open ended, especially if these two lovebirds are already having marital troubles.
Whether or not Jefferies and Lisa wind up together and the rest of their neighbors find some sort of happiness is entirely irrelevant. Hitchcock believed (or so he said in interviews) that the characters and the story ended when the film ended. What is for certain however is the brilliance of this film. The performances are top-notch (easily the best in Grace Kelly's sadly short-lived film career and one of the best in James Stewart's lengthy career as an actor), the script is intricately woven with meaningful subplots and wrought with tension and excitement, and director Alfred Hitchcock is at the top of his game. You couldn't ask for anything more. Rear Window is without a doubt Alfred Hitchcock's best motion picture of his career, if not the best of the 1950s....more info
- a gift is a gift
I bought this as a gift for a friend that has Rear Window as one of their favorite movies of all time to watch...more info
- THE ORIGINAL ROOM WITH A VIEW
This is my second-favorite Jimmy Stewart movie ( VERTIGO being my favorite of both Stewart's, and Hitch's ). I have always been amazed by the intricacy of the staging, and set design in this beautifully, and brilliantly orchestrated psychological thriller, that juggles droll humor, social commentary, and mounting suspense with such aplomb, and twisted, though, surgeon-like precision. REAR WINDOW is an exquisite film, and should be in any serious collection....more info
- Suspenseful, but...
Despite some fine acting by James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter, there were quite a few improbables in this story that unsuspended my suspension of my disbelief. The "characters", if you want to call them that, did things that no normal person in those circumstance would do, unless there was something wrong with the character which compelled this but which the audience was not privy to know.
I found the movie cluttered with many unrelated bits--scenes--that had neither plot nor character significance and which were just time wasters--they didn't advance the plot or suspense one mite. I found the music terrible, too jazzy and breezy for the suspense that was trying to be evoked--it did the very opposite.
Yes, there were some smart lines in the dialogue, especially Thelma's and Jimmy's, which you rarely get today. All in all the film was entertaining but hardly believable. Do not be fooled by the name Hitchcock--there are many better directors than he, director's whose work is far less contrived and manipulative--but the glamour and iconistic pizzazz of his name often blinds critics to his obvious flaws--flaws that they would and have condemned in other lesser known directors.
By the way, Vertigo is far better than this movie--I found it highly believable and recommend it. ...more info
I was a bit hesitant to watch this movie because I had seen Vertigo and I really didn't like the casting choice of James Stewart. But I'm on a bit of a Hitchcock thing right now and want to see all of his films. One of the beautiful things about the movie is its superb use of location. The whole movie, bar a couple of brief scenes, is set in the apartment. The obvious twists Mr. Hitchcock could have delivered upon us are never used. Perhaps we would have found out that in fact the neighbor's wife was alive, but that the neighbor was in fact involved in a crime. What was buried in the garden? The stolen jewel perhaps? No, We never really find out, they just elude to the mysterious treasure and we are left to assume it is just another cut up bit of wife. Over all the story wasn't all that bad, it does pull you along, and it keeps you watching. But, admittedly a large part of that is because the viewer is left expecting one of those supposedly famous "Hitchcock Twists", but with a rushed and unimaginative ending, the twist never comes. What intrigued me is that we can witness Stewart's voyeurism, taking the journey with him from curiosity to suspicion to certainty to fear, finally subconsciously delighting in becoming voyeurs ourselves. I actually caught myself sitting up on the edge of my couch near the end of this movie....more info
- Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece
This movie shows Grace Kelly at the peak of her beauty. Only Hitchcock can make the story of a "voyeur" this interesting to "watch".
The picture quality on this DVD is excellent & in letterbox format to boot. I only buy DVD in letterbox format, the way the director meant you to see it. If you are a fan of the Master, this DVD needs to be in your collection!...more info