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Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
IMDB rating:
Alfred Hitchcock
James Stewart as L. B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey as Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter as Stella
Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn as Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian as Songwriter
Georgine Darcy as Miss Torso
Sara Berner as Wife living above Thorwalds
Frank Cady as Husband living above Thorwalds
Jesslyn Fax as Sculpting neighbor with hearing aid
Rand Harper as Newlywed man
Irene Winston as Mrs. Anna Thorwald
Havis Davenport as Newlywed woman
Storyline: Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.
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Voyeurism, Murder, Stewart and Kelly Make for a Hitch High
It doesn't have the psychological complexity or panoramic sweep of his later films, but 1954's "Rear Window" is arguably his most fun film to watch. An entire Greenwich Village apartment complex and courtyard was built inside a Paramount studio building to create Hitchcock's unforgiving microcosm of lonely souls that stretches the ethical envelope of voyeurism. James Stewart plays L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies, an adventure photographer, wheelchair-bound with a week left in his cast for a broken leg. He is itching for some excitement and not even the devoted attention of an impossibly beautiful Grace Kelly as Lisa, a Park Avenue fashion model is enough for him. Stuck in his apartment all day, he sees the comings and goings of his neighbors, all strangers to him, and pieces together their lives and gives them pseudonyms like "Miss Torso" and "Miss Lonelyhearts". But his attention focuses on a suspicious, white-haired man named Thorwald. Jeff becomes increasingly intrigued by his neighbor's odd behavior and the sudden disappearance of his nagging, bedridden wife. Jeff suspects a murder plot, which seems far-fetched at first, but becomes gradually more evident as his obsession infects Lisa, his masseuse Stella and his detective buddy Tom.

Hitchcock was indeed the master of suspense, but the movie is suffused with an unexpectedly light sense of humor that touches rather candidly on sex and relationships thanks to John Michael Hayes' sharp script. Lisa's entanglement with Thorwald is played out well, especially as Jeff looks on helplessly from his apartment. Stewart is wonderfully sly throughout, giving hints of the inner torment he displays later in "Vertigo" but still likable even as he tries to reject his glamorous, sheltered girlfriend. Kelly seems merely decorative at first, but she sharpens as her character gains a fearless sense of intrigue that Jeff finds alluring. Thelma Ritter plays a smarter and warmer variation of her typical wisecracker as Stella, while Wendell Corey is his usual nondescript stalwart self as Tom. Raymond Burr, pre-Perry Mason, shows up as Thorwald and lends interesting ambiguity to his menacing character. Robert Burks' probing camera-work makes the perfect complement to Hitchcock's trademark film-making style, and special mention needs to be given to Robert A. Harris's splendid 1998 work in restoring the film's original splendor, even the slow-motion first kiss between Stewart and Kelly. The DVD has a couple of nice extras, an hour-long documentary that focuses on the ethics behind the story and the restoration effort, and a brief interview with screenwriter Hayes. One of Hitchcock's best in an impressive canon of work.
Rear Window is an all-time movie classic!
What can I say?I LOVE this movie!Hitchcock was,of course,the master of suspense!I love the fact that each time I watch this movie(and I'e seen it many,many times over the years!)it still grabs me by the collar and never lets go right up until the very end of the movie!Jimmy Stewart was perfectly cast as L.B.Jeffries,an all-Amercian type of guy.And Grace Kelly,WOW!She is every man's fancy!Other roles in the movie made for a perfect ensemble.Raymond Burr as the killer scared the hell out of me(and still does!)And atmosphere;although I'e read that Hitchcock filmed this whole movie on a sound stage in Hollywood at Paramount Studios and not Greenwich Village in New York,you are drawn in to the characters that Stewart is watching while nursing his broken leg.Of course,at the very end of the movie,when Raymond Burr gets into a fight with Jimmy Stewart and Stewart falls to the ground,we see in the final scene that Jimmy broke his other Leg as well.Of course,in real life,the way the poor man fell,he probably WOULD'VE BROKEN HIS BACK,as well!But,we can forgive that,too,as Hollywood has always played fast & loose with the facts.I'e seen this movie on the big screen a couple of times,you should,too!The color(now that the movie has been restored)is superb!
Why is this movie considered so great? The people that praise it are hoity-toity pretentious "film buffs". I thought the acting was great, and the cinematography was excellent, but I was not on the edge of my seat at all during this film. It was not suspenseful, as I could tell what was going to happen, and I never felt worried about any of the characters because I could tell they would be saved in one way or another.
In the mid-fifties, Hitchcock brought remarkable suspense by reverting to the logic of a silent film (with an observer behind the lens as the hero)
Many reviewers and critics have commented on Alfred Hitchcock's theme of the voyeur in Rear Window (the mere thought of a voyeur in a suspense film conjures up images from other classic Hitchcock films), and I felt that voyeuristic bug as well. But I realized something that I hadn't thought of as I watched it for the first time- this is a return for Hitchcock to his skills as a master of silent-film chills. As L.B. Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart in one of his most infamous performances) is in his wheelchair viewing out one perspective to other inhabitants in the apartment, the audience views right along-side him. So, for more or less 50 percent of the film, the only sounds we hear are the sounds of mere realism, as Hitch's camera keeps a close eye on things.

As the thrills build in the second hour of the film there is considerably more dialog than the first hour. This could, and occasionally does, present a challenge for the audience member that could either be accepted & payed off or resented- can one sit back and just watch things unfold as in a film from the 20's? Personally, the experience of seeing these events unfold and increase was near electrifying. Along with Stewart's performance, which ranges from amusing to terrified, compelling to frightened (i.e. Hitch's 'everyday man'), there's Grace Kelly as Lisa, who carries her own beauty & inner conflicts, and Raymond Burr as Thorvold, who could have things going a little better with his wife.

If we empathize with Jeff, it's because we become as much apart of his mind-set/POV as he already is, and that's the ticket to the film's true success. Not only is there a magnetic kind of skill to which Hitchcock (and cinematographer Robert Burks) presents us with the apartments' supporting and minor characters and how their fates are played out against the enclosed backdrop, but the psychology of Jeff becomes parallel, or against, to the audience's. This is the story of one man's temptation and compulsion to be involved with those he can see (much like movie-goers have with any given film), and how perception of the realities around him become ours. Rear Window may have become dated for some movie-goers, particularly since the theme has been played on by other movies and TV shows (like The Simpsons for example). Yet there is a certain effectiveness to it all, even in the earlier scenes, that holds an edge over imitators. A+
A Deep & Entertaining Classic
One of Hitchcock's greatest masterpieces, "Rear Window" is a deep and entertaining classic with many strengths, and a little bit of everything. A fine suspense story is combined with romantic tension in the main plot, and there are numerous sub-plots, some humorous and some moving, all with many psychological overtones. The main characters are wonderfully portrayed and full of life. The apparently simple setting in an apartment complex is developed into a world filled with intriguing and sometimes unsettling possibilities, and this apparently average neighborhood comes to life with a wealth of lavish visual detail and interesting minor characters. It is the kind of film-making that (like many of Hitchcock's greatest movies) is very flattering to the viewer. The director assumes that his audience will pay close enough attention to appreciate the many subtleties with which he has filled the movie. It rewards both careful attention and repeated viewings, since there is much more here than merely a suspense plot, as good as that story is in itself.

For the first 30 minutes or so, we simply get to know the characters. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his best performances as a photographer recuperating from an injury, forced to spend several weeks staring out his apartment window at the minor dramas in the lives of his neighbors. Grace Kelly is ideal in the role of his perfect girlfriend, who can never find a way to break down Stewart's reserve. The study of their relationship would have made a good movie by itself. Almost every action and every word between them is filled with meaning, and what they see in the lives of others is an interesting reflection of the tensions and possibilities in their own present and future. Thelma Ritter is wonderful as a colorful, no-nonsense nurse who constantly sheds some light - sometimes unwanted - on what is happening between them. The action and suspense that occur later serves in large part as a catalyst that resolves some of the important issues between the two.

After we get to know the characters and their world, things start to happen, as Stewart becomes engrossed in some of the things he has seen. The ethical and moral concerns of meddling in others' affairs become intertwined with more urgent questions about what may have happened in those other apartments, and from then on the tension builds steadily. It leads up to a riveting climactic sequence filled with suspense, and made even more meaningful by our awareness of its deeper significance to the main characters.

There is much more that could be said, but you should see this for yourself. It is a classic that will be enjoyed not only by thriller fans, but by anyone who appreciates carefully crafted movies with a lot of depth.
It really blows me away...
I first saw Rear Window about 4 years ago in a video/film program that I was attending. At that time I was simply blown away by it.

For starters, I was simply impressed w/ the set. The fact that you can see out of Jeffries' apartment window, across the courtyard and into the other tenant's apartments to see their goings on is incredible. The music used is a musician tenant creating a piece. The fact that it ebbs and flows w/ the action, until the very end when you actualy hear the finished piece committed to vinyl is really cool.

I liked the fact that you only see what Jeffries sees and therefore have to try and guess what actually happened.

While the movie, in a way is actualy about nothing, yet it is about voyeurism and to a lesser degree about love between two apparently different people. However, that is a side line to the actual plot.

for Hitchock, this film uses suspense, rather than gross thriller, such as Psycho or the Birds did to draw you into the film. I've seen it many times and always get something out of it every time. I own a non restored copy on tape and watch it at least twice a year-or more.

It's simply one of the best movies ever made that I've seen and one of my all time favorites. A near perfect movie if I say so myself.

Hitchcock realy paid attention to detail in this movie. The fact that you see "miss Lonely Hearts" actions, Even Lars Thorwald's action is incredible. The attention to detail is simply incredible.
Quite puzzled as to how it got in to IMDb top 20
This movie being in IMDb top 20 puzzles me somewhat. I have seen most of the IMDb top 20 movies and they lived up to my expectations or exceeded expectations apart from perhaps The Dark Knight, Star Wars, and Lord of the ring. Those movies are up there understandably due the votes of the huge fan base. But how did Rear Window got up there? Due to the fan base of Hitchcock? Probably... and my be also due to the fact this is a pioneering movie of its genre. I can try and agree with reasons given by reviewers who has given very high rating for this movie. However, the whole package is bit disappointing, specially when you put this movie in current context. I cannot agree that this is a timeless classic. Anyway, you have to put my rating of 5 in context as well. I am rating it for the entertainment value forgetting about the fact that Hitchcock did this movie in 1954 and he was a pioneer of the genre.
Copernican Cinema
Spoilers herein.

I just don't like Hitchcock. I admit that he `delivered value' in his day, but as I review his films today, I find them trite, badly dated. The style of acting he used now looks `actorly.' His camera framing is well considered but unimaginative by today's standards. The stories are not engaging (to me).

But this film really is a classic. Not because of the acting or the dialog, but because it was so cleverly conceived. And because the execution is so purely cinematic.

The first problem a writer/director faces is what stance the camera takes. Is it a fairly static `audience' as if you were watching a play? Is it godlike in always seeing things from the best perspective, though sometimes humanly impossible? Is it a character? Or does it follow a character sometime showing their point of view, sometimes their reaction? Does it act?

Do we admit the camera exists -- by introducing jiggle, or showing operator's functions like focusing, developing? Do we dissolve the camera's perspective by juggling time or perspectives? Do we try a `100 simultaneous cameras' approach?

Hitchcock usually uses the static theatrical approach -- way too much for modern tastes. He punctuates this by sometimes doing a character focused shot, and sometimes a spectacular-for-the-time godshot -- as in the `Psycho' shower scene.

But this film is more purely conceived for the camera. There are no godshots. Nearly all the camerawork is from Jeff's eye, or of Jeff's apartment, with a few notable exceptions. What is novel is why this works -- the set and entire story were composed backwards. That is, instead of having some slice of life that the camera discovers, this reality exists as if it were created by the camera before the action starts. Everything that is required to motivate the world is comprehensible from that apartment -- the entire physics of this world is based on its center.

In other words, Hitchcock's achievement here is not how he accommodates the camera to the world, but the world to the camera.

Pure genius.
An enjoyable nostalgic look at an old movie
For the third time in the last five years or more! I saw this film again on TV. It was preceded by a film about Hitchock so this time I was looking for his identity as a Director more than the content of the film.

I was disappointed with the story, the acting from two great actors, and the very limited set. There was no suspense that normally could be expected from a Hitchcock film, even taking account that I had seen it before.

The problem is that films date, we expect more now from writers, actors, producers and directors. Everything moves on and up. For example does anybody really enjoy silent movies anymore. Would our children ever bother to see them?

Although current technology in film making does not replace good acting and a good storyline, it does save a film which is deficient in these. We used to accept almost anything put on the magic screen, because it was an experience. Now we want more. I wonder if the producers of the new Star Wars epic have learnt the lesson - not rely on any one of the following three, all are important, storyline first, acting and then the effects to stimulate the senses. Although I have not seen the film yet, and I will when it comes to the UK, I suspect by the many negative comments that there is too much reliance on technology and not enough on story and acting. I hope I'm wrong . If not, an ideal chance to get it right would have been missed . I will reserve judgement.
The Master at his best.
Brilliant. Legendary. Perfect. There are not enough adjectives to describe properly "Rear Window". Along with "Vertigo" and "North by Northwest" this is probably one of his best 3 movies.

After his period in Warner Bros., where he directed masterpieces like "Strangers on a Train" or "Dial M For Murder", it seemed as if the master could not top what he had previously achieved. But he did. In fact, when Hitchcock directed "Rear Window", his first movie at Paramount, he was beginning with the right foot what would become his most brilliant period.

The well-known plot stars Hitchcock's favorite Jimmy Stewart as photographer L. B. Jeffries, who is almost caged in his apartment during his recovery from an accident he had while working. To kill the time, he becomes obsessed with what happens to his neighbors outside, to the point that he is convinced that one of them committed a murder. Grace Kelly plays his beautiful girlfriend, and Thelma Ritter plays his nurse.

Hitchcock makes us parters in crime during Jeffreis voyeuristic adventures, as we are silent witness of the misfortunes of the neighborhood. Lisa, his girlfriend, has a difficult relationship with Jeffreis, there is definitely love there, but he is reluctant to include her in his life because he considers her "too perfect". Jeffreis voyeurism is probably, his escape to his problems as he prefers to watch the others.

Technically the movie is brilliant. The camera is our eyes and it flows smoothly; and even when the movie takes place almost entirely in Jeffreis apartment, it never becomes tiresome or boring. This is also possible to the ingenious script and the brilliant performance of the three lead characters.

Beautiful Grace Kelly is outstanding as the lovely girlfriend who turns into an adventurous spy as she gets interested in his boyfriend's new hobby. Jimmy Stewart gives once again his classic performance of the "regular guy" that Hitchcock enjoyed so much; although in my opinion, is Thelma Ritter who gives the movie that charming quality, as her witty comments are delivered with that dark humor that Hitchcock loved so much.

"Rear Window" is without any doubt, a perfect movie. Hitchcock has walked a long way, but all his previous work was practice when compared to the movies to come; his work would reach it's peak in the famous three: "Vertigo", "North by Northwest" and "Psycho". At this time, he is already considered a master.

10/10. Masterpiece.
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