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Like the Greenwich Village courtyard view from its titular portal, Alfred Hitchcock's classicRear Windowis 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

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review by . August 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    **** out of ****    I don't recall ever coming across a house without windows. The window in itself is a powerful invention; often found in households around the world because people like a room with a view. For instance, from my bedroom window I can see not only my backyard, but also that of the people who live just one neighborhood up from ours. It's interesting, because these people could be working in their garden, and I could be watching; …
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 film "Rear Window", is one of the great est of Hitchcock movies. Jimmy Stewart does a great job in a genre that you don't see him in very often. Grace Kelly, what can I say, very easy on the eyes and a wonderful actress. I loved this suspense movie. By the way, I collect cameras and I love the fact that I own the same model camera as the one he used in the movie, a great German made camera, Exakta, with a Zeiss telephoto lens.
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2010
I always found it quite ironic that a man in a wheel chair would foil the plans of the man that would later go on to become famous for playing Ironside, a man in a wheel chair.
review by . December 18, 2008
rear Window
In my mind Jimmy Stewart's incredible performance in Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 suspense classic "Rear Window" has to rank as the finest single performance in the history of film.  Stewart plays roving news photographer L.B. Jeffries who has the great misfortune of having to recouperate from a broken leg in the stifling summer heat in his tiny mid-town apartment.  He is confined to his wheelchair and passes the time gazing out his window and observing the comings and goings …
review by . October 20, 2001
posted in Movie Hype
The ultimate Hitchcock classic, REAR WINDOW gives us a glimpse into the mind of Alfred Hitchcock, and in turn Hitchcock turns the mirror on us and forces us to admit our darkest desire...to be voyeurs.That is exactly what Jeffries is. Jeffries (James Stewart) is a wheelchair-bound photographer who spends his time cooped up in his apartment, peeping in on the neighbours across the courtyard. He comes up with "names" for them; Miss Torso the ballerina; Miss Lonely-Hearts; The Newly-Weds and so on. …
review by . October 24, 2000
Pros: Great concept and good script; Grace Kelly; excellent character development     Cons: leaves you hanging at the end; the dog bites the dust (which upset me more than anything else in the film.)     Many people rant and rave about Rear Window, declaring it Hitchcok's masterpiece. Yes, the film defines Hitchcock's style better than any film I've seen thus far in my Hitchcock class. HOWEVER, I was not as impressed with Rear Window as I was with some of …
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