Film Review: Rear Window (1954)

Posted by prla1983 on October 08, 2005 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

[ This review was originally published here ]

"Rear Window" (alongside "Psycho") is universally regarded as Hitchcock's masterpiece and perhaps rightly so. There's something unique about this film which becomes harder to recreate as the years go by and we are hit left and right with silly special effects.

So what is cinema but the opportunity it gives us to look into other people's lives? That is, by definition, in some way or another, true for most films. "Rear Window" takes that premise to the extreme. Well, if you live in the 50s, have just broken a leg and your place happens to have a big window through which you can spy on your entire neighborhood, there's not much else you can do, is there?

At least that's what Jeffrey (again, magnificiently played by James Stewart) thinks, even more so when he becomes convinced that one of his neighbors (Raymond Burr, of "Perry Mason" fame) has killed the wife. The trick here is that Hitchcock places us right next to Jeffrey the whole time. We get no more information than he has and we are kept guessing all the way through.

The plot only gets thicker as it goes along and fortunately for him Jeffrey can share his concerns with his girlfriend Lisa (played by the beautiful Grace Kelly) and his maid, who helps him with the house duties in his time of need. Obviously both of the women grow increasingly worried with the proceedings, with Lisa even managing to get herself in danger on a desperate attempt to solve the big mystery.

I have trouble thinking of a genre that has more power to keep the viewer on the edge of his seat. But as with everything, it has to be done right. Can you think of a better director for the job, though?

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