Rear Window

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Rear Window (1954) is a motion picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on Cornell Woolrich's short story "It Had to Be Murder" (1942). It is considered by critics, scholars, and film historians to be one of Hitchcock's best and most thrilling pictures.

Description

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Stewart plays the part of L.B. Jeffries, a professional photographer who has been confined to his bedroom after an accident left him with his leg in a cast. Suffering from boredom, he takes to looking out the window and spying on his neighbors. Over time, he comes to believe that a murder has taken place, though his friends and his girlfriend Lisa (Kelly) think his beliefs are imagined due to his idle behaviour.

The entire movie occurs in Jeffries' bedroom, and for most of the film, almost all point of view (POV) shots are Jeffries'. In other words, we generally see and hear only what Jeffries sees and hears. However, at key points in the movie this pattern is broken, (usually as a dual or triple POV shot, but also the single POV shots of Doyle, Stella, and Lisa). This trend increases throughout the film until the final sequence, when Jeffries' POV is nearly subverted.

The character of Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) isn't seen in close-up, and he doesn't speak, until the climax of the movie when he appears in Jeffries' room.

File:Gracerear.jpg
Grace Kelly poses in a evening gown.

Analysis

There has been avid discussion among scholars of film about Rear Window and the way it examines the relationship between the characters played by Stewart and Kelly: most notably, how their relationship can be compared to the lives of the neighbors they are spying upon. There are:

  • The newlywed couple who think they are perfect for each other (they spend the almost entire movie in their apartment, in the bedroom with the blinds drawn), but eventually their sexual appetites begin to wane and we see that their marriage will not last. (L.B. Jeffries [Stewart] is afraid that he and Lisa [Grace Kelly] will have that kind of relationship, and he doesn't want to be tied down by it...at first.)
  • The beautiful blond dancer "Miss Torso" who entertains a lot of men, but at the end she remains faithful to her boyfriend who returns from the army. (Is Lisa that faithful to L.B.?)
  • The content middle-aged couple...too content, in fact. They're happy living at home, doing nothing exciting (a lifestyle that L.B. is appalled by) and sleep on the fire escape to beat the summer heat. They're the couple with the nosy little dog.
  • Miss Lonelyhearts and the music composer, two people leading empty lives who want to find that special someone...and by the end of the movie, they finally do. (A subtle hint that Lisa and L.B. are meant for each other, despite his stubbornness). The piece the composer creates is called "Lisa's Theme".
  • Finally, the salesman with the nagging wife, who has apparently lost all of his love for her...Lars Thorwald.

The movie invites speculation as to which of these paths Jeffries and Lisa will follow.

Trivia

The composer is played by Ross Bagdasarian, a nephew of William Saroyan, now better known as David Seville, creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Alfred Hitchcock makes his cameo in the composer's apartment.

File:Rear Window.jpg
Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in a scene from the movie.

Legacy

Brian De Palma paid homage to Rear Window with his movie Body Double (which also added touches of Hitchcock's Vertigo).

This movie has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Rear Window was re-made as a TV movie in 1998, starring Christopher Reeve.

Animated series such as The Simpsons, Tiny Toon Adventures, The Venture Bros., and Home Movies have all paid homages to Rear Window.

External link

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de:Das Fenster zum Hof es:La ventana indiscreta fr:Fenêtre sur cour it:La finestra sul cortile (film) ja:裏窓 fi:Takaikkuna sv:Fönstret åt gården