rating: (out of 4 stars)
United States; 1954
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock; produced by Alfred Hitchcock; written by John Michael Hayes
Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn
Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' belongs to the director's best, and therefore to the greatest films ever made. Personally I think only 'Vertigo' is better, but they are close to equally great. 'Rear Window' is filmed almost entirely from the point of view of Jeff (James Stewart), a photographer who is temporarily with one leg in a cast. Therefore, from his small appartement, he has nothing else to do than watch his neighbors.
Hitchcock introduces all characters Jeff sees in one shot, peeking inside every room across the yard. We know what Jeff knows and we get to know them as he does. We see a lonely woman who practices dates on her own, a girl who dances all day and has dates with multiple men on the same time, some newly-weds making love all day, a couple sleeping on the balcony since it is so hot, and a couple where strange things seem to happen. So thinks Jeff and we agree with him.
After a fight
the woman has disappeared and the man acts strange; he must have murdered
her. We see the man (Raymond Burr) doing suspicious things, although none of
them would be considered suspicious in other circumstances. A lot of people
clean knives, carry suitcases, leave and return in the middle of the night.
But together with Jeff, we are suspicious as well. From time to time his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) comes over,
as does Stella (Thelma Ritter) who takes care of him since he has broken his
leg. Both are skeptical at first, but Jeff slowly knows to convince them as
Another character, Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey), a friend
of Jeff who happens to be a detective, also reminds us, but both begin to
believe Jeff bit by bit. Doyle is a useful character here. He is a detective
so he can find out little things that keep the plot moving. Although Doyle
is not very convinced, Jeff finds new suspicious material in every little
thing Doyle is telling him, and again, we strangely agree with him. Stewart
and his everyday appearance contribute majorly to this, but we only realize
after the film has finished.
|Review by Reinier Verhoef|