Rear Window
Year:
1954
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
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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File Size 5596 Mb
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Bitrate 1536 Kbps
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Reviews
One of the Most Thrilling Films Hitchcock Ever Directed
I saw this last night on AMC and was blown away by the plot, the characterization, the setting, and of course, the suspense. I am a huge Hitchcock fan, some of my favorites being "North by Northwest," "Psycho," "Lifeboat," and now this.

L.B. Jefferies, known as Jeff by his friends, is wheelchair-bound in his Manhattan apartment, dealing with a broken leg. With nothing else to do but look out the window, he takes to watching the lives of his neighbors around the center courtyard: the struggling musician, Miss Torso, the dancer, the eccentric couple with the curious dog, the newlyweds, Miss Lonelyheart, and of course, the Thorwalds, right across the way. Lars Thorwald and his bed-ridden wife become Jeff's focal characters to observe...until Mrs. Thorwald disappears, and Lars becomes progressively suspicious. He quickly involves his uptown girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly) who opts to do some investigation, and then involves his nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter). Helpless in his apartment, he works through them and the moderate help from his friend, Doyle (Wendell Corey), a detective. Questions continue to arise, and Jeff, Lisa, Stella, and Doyle seem to be coming to a conclusion. Yet, this is Hitchcock, and our team of protagonists aren't close to just solving the case and moving on. Oh no, the last twenty minutes or so prove to unbearably suspenseful as Lisa investigates the Thornwald's apartment while it's unoccupied, and Jeff and Stella watch helplessly as Lars comes home....

This truly is an amazing film. James Stewart and Grace Kelly give amazing performances, and Thelma Ritter is wonderful as the witty nurse. The vignettes on the lives of each of Jeff's neighbors are all quite interesting, and I found Miss Lonelyheart's story in particular to be absolutely wonderful. I also loved how Jeff was helpless, while the two women were off doing what one would think to be the man's role in the movie. Lisa, particular, is quite an innovative character. First of all, she's very funny. I love when Jeff is telling her the rough aspects of a traveling photographers life, and how when he asks her something in the way if she had ever been 5000 feet up, struggling to stay warm in twenty below zero weather, and she replies, "Well, when I get a few minutes after lunch...." She also takes that role of the elegant uptown girl and admits her sophistication and perfection, like when Jeff comments on how she never wears the same dress twice, and Lisa notes light-heartedly, "Only because it's expected of her [me]." And then, when she takes all those risks to uncover the truth in the end. Not only could I not sit still, I was so scared (which is rare for me with most horror movies) but I was amazed at how she proved that she wasn't afraid to risk anything. Now, that's one hell of a heroine, and perhaps the greatest Hitchcock woman ever.

I also loved Stella. She had some of the greatest lines in the movie, and I love when she's commenting to Lisa and Jeff on the probable gory details of Lars's act. She was definitely memorable with all her witty lines, and had me laughing many times.

And of course, James Stewart gave a great performance, conveying that feeling of helplessness, and near claustrophobia being in that apartment, unable to do anything, and just as he's safe in his apartment watching everyone, he goes through hell trying to figure out what to do when Lars comes home while Lisa is still at his apartment.

The movie is enthralling from the amazing opening to the wonderful epilogue, and the title music totally sets the scene for some fun. I recommend this movie to anyone, it is an amazing film.

2000-07-17
No rear window
Many positive things about Rear Window have been said; after seeing Hitchcock's "own favorite movie" for the first time, I would only make some small critical comments. First, I don't understand the title. Because Stewart's appartment doesn't have a "real" front (the front door is situated in a corridor, where are no windows at all), the window he's continuously looking through is by all means a FRONT window. Second, only for Hitchcock's own comfort as a director, Stewart is able to observe his neighbours through his binoculars and his enormous - at least - 300 mm objective the entire day and night, without ever being asked or confronted what the hell this voyeur think he's doing! His neighbours, who live only a couple of feet across, must have noticed this man observing them way before "Thorwald" does, when Kelly is found in his apartment (giving Stewart fingersigns, discovered by Thorwald). Third, and most important, I found the final scenes so disappointing, I couldn't believe this was a Hitchcock-movie. All of Stewart's assumptions and predictions are proven to be right and that's it. No surprises, nothing new is added and, most disturbing, no explanations or motives are given why Thorwald killed his wife. In all, I was tempted to believe this movie was originally written as a musical.
2001-08-08
Looking Through the Rear Window
Hitchcock was a master of his craft- everyone is aware of that- and his ideas revolutionized and popularized the thriller genre, one of my personal favorites. Skimming through his rich filmography, every addition is fueled by unmatched suspense. This is no different with one of Hitchcock's highly-acclaimed classics, Read Window. The film promises so much potential with its opening act in which the camera is technically the first participant and onlooker as it manages to give us a considerable amount of backstory without any verbal language in its first five minutes or so. It carefully observes a fascinating environment/setting- one in which every neighbor's life is visible through their open windows. The way the set was built and is in appearance is simply genius and (almost) never was the set of a film as crucial to its story and themes as it is here.

Right from the get-go, you witness an underlying theme in that this picture conveys the isolated and individualistic nature of neighborhoods in our current world. No one seems to be interested in their neighbors besides Jeff (and he even mentions this in one of his clever lines) so much so that they aren't even concerned about what they're actually partaking in those rooms of theirs; the neighbors are never aware anyways. However, on the opposite side, it can be argued that people in current society are frankly too obsessed with another's conversation or activities. Apparently, we stick our noses in everyone's business, and it can be argued on a political scale as well. We do, in fact, watch our foreign neighbors far too closely with invasive binoculars, and in this manner, Jeff could actually be perceived as the villain of Rear Window in a way. In sum, there are countless perspectives one can judge this film from, occasionally conflicting with one another due to their opposing scopes.

Anyways, I can't place my eye on the exact reason, but actors were so much more capable of delivering with a charming character back in those days because the audience immediately recognizes the charisma of the film's protagonist as he daringly speaks out with clever, hilarious, and/or downright convincingly serious lines. His lovable personality is loud and clear with the story's development, and eventually, it's met with the beauty of Grace Kelly's character (Lisa). On a side note, as the intriguing plot progressed, the whole idea undoubtedly reminded me of Disturbia (2007).

Moving on, albeit its heavily suspenseful and compelling nature, there were some faults I happened to identify. First of all, did the entire case really mean that much to Jeff to the point where he just couldn't bring himself to yell out when Lisa, his future wife, was endangered by Mr. Thorwald's intimidating and threatening presence? There was a sense of awkwardness in that I was viewing this curious fellow experiencing anxiety with visible sweat pouring down his face though he still continues to watch on as his love nears possible death.

In addition, the result of this riveting mystery felt somewhat anticlimactic, and this slightly stemmed from the expectations one usually possesses upon viewing a Hitchcock film for there is usually a twist that shocks and awes the audience towards its end. We never got that from Rear Window as everything was exactly as it seemed. It could've been the main point of the feature, but still, I predicted the garden being the burial spot of the poor woman in the movie's first hour. And if the message of the film was that everything is truly as it seems, then why did another theme intrude the ending where you see a short, fat lover show up at the breathlessly gorgeous model's apartment? There and then, it seemed as if not everything is what it seems; so, already you have two contradictory (possible) themes on your plate. Which one was Hitchcock's actual intention? After all is said and done, Rear Window is a fantastic thriller with a not-as-satisfying end result, but it definitely impressed me the way most Hitchcock films have already. (North by Northwest is definitely next on my list.)
2013-09-30
Another Hitchcock masterpiece
Alfred Hitchcock is considered by most to be the master of suspense. I believe he was also a master of understanding human nature. He intuitively understood that human beings are voyeurs by nature, not in the perverted sense, but in the curious sense. We are a species that slows down to look at accident scenes and steals furtive glances at lovers in the park who are oblivious to everything but each other. A major appeal of cinema and television is that they offer us an opportunity for guilt free voyeurism. When we watch a film, aren't we in essence looking through a window and watching people who behave as if they don't realize we are there?

Hitchcock realized this and took voyeurism to the next level, allowing us to watch a voyeur as he watched others. While `Rear Window' as a whole is probably not quite at a level with `Vertigo' (which was far more suspenseful and mysterious with a powerful musical score) as a cinematic accomplishment, it is more seductive because it strikes closer to our human obsessions. Hitchcock's mastery is most evident in his subtle use of reaction scenes by the various characters. We watch an event that Jeff (James Stewart) is watching and then Hitchcock immediately cuts to his reaction. This is done repeatedly in various layers even with the other tenants as they interact with one another. For instance, in the scene with Miss Lonelyheart (Judith Evelyn), we see her throw out the man who made a pass at her and then we see her reaction after she slams the door, followed by the reaction of Jeff and Lisa (Grace Kelly). In another scene, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) sees Lisa's nightclothes and presumes she will be staying the night. Hitchcock shows the suitcase, then Doyle's reaction, and then he goes to Jeff who points his finger at him and says `Be Careful, Tom'. This elegant scene takes a few seconds and speaks volumes with little dialogue. Such technique gets the viewer fully involved, because if we were there this is exactly what we would be doing, watching the unfolding events and then seeing how others around us responded. In essence, it puts us in the room with them.

Hitchcock was a stickler for detail. For instance, he aimed the open windows so they would show subtle reflections of places in the apartment we couldn't see directly. However, there were certain details included or excluded that were inexplicable. Would Thorwold really be scrubbing the walls with the blinds open? Would Lisa be conspicuously waving at Jeff while Stella (Thelma Ritter) was digging up the garden? Moreover, wouldn't Lisa have taken off her high heels before climbing a wall and then a fire escape? This film had numerous small incongruities that are normally absent from Hitchcock films. Though these are picayune criticisms, they are painfully obvious in the film of a director known to be a compulsive perfectionist.

The acting is superb in this film. Jimmy Stewart is unabashedly obsessed as the lead character. Photographers have an innate visual perceptiveness and the ability to tell a story with an image and Stewart adopts this mindset perfectly. Grace Kelly has often been accused of being the `Ice Maiden' in her films, yet in this film she is assertive and even reckless. Though cool at times, she is often playful and rambunctious. I always enjoy Thelma Ritter's performances for their honesty and earthiness and this is another example of a character actor at her best. Raymond Burr often doesn't get the recognition he deserves for this role, which is mostly shot at a distance with very few lines. Yet, he imbues Thurwold with a looming nefariousness using predominantly physical acting.

This film was rated number 42 on AFI's top 100 of the century sandwiched between `Psycho' (#18) and `Vertigo' (#61). I personally think more highly of `Vertigo' but it is a minor distinction, because I rated them both 10/10. `Rear Window' is a classic, a masterpiece of filmmaking technique from a director who was a true pioneer of suspense.
2001-04-10
It didn't work for me, the suspense was missing. Great direction and acting.
I am aware that many people like this film a lot, and after many years it has indeed become a classic, and that's why I saw it for the first time yesterday. And I found it updated which is not very strange since we are talking about a film made in the early fifties. There is not much suspense in the plot mostly because as the story goes by, it is very obvious who the murderer is. The definition of suspense is: that the spectator should be guessing who the guilty person is, or even better: guessing who the bad guy is. In this film, we do know who the bad guy is, but we don't know if he really did it or not. Real suspense would have been that the guy that everyone thought that did it, in fact didn't did it at all, and that the one that looks innocent had done it. Now that would've been a twist! There are a couple of other things that killed the suspense in me. Why a man that is a photographer and tries to convince a policeman that his neighbor killed his wife and has no evidence and is looking through the window with a telephoto camera, doesn't take pictures of the scene of crime and use them as evidence. And how come that a man that is going to murder his wife and cut her in small pieces doesn't draw down the window blinds so no one can see what he is doing and testify against him. But I have to admit, Hitchcock gets away with it anyway, because he makes you see things that only a great director like him can. He will make you believe that Jeff and Lisa are right and everyone else is wrong just by watching this couple's attitude, created through their acting. And there is the strength of these actors; they are extremely reassuring in their personalities that as such, it impregnates the whole film. Just by the way they pose and sit and look you can almost smell that whatever they do is right. On the contrary, Thorwald hasn't a chance because from the very first scene he is doomed; he is the bad guy even before the film has started! And I intuitively guessed it and killed the suspense, sorry. I liked "Vertigo" even if some scenes are a little bit slow and long and I liked "Psycho", that's a masterpiece. But "Rear Window" it's just too obvious.
2015-07-26
wonderful!
Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window is a definite classic. The movie is about a successful photographer with a broken leg, whom is stuck in his apartment in a cast for 6 weeks. This story takes place during a one-week period, where this man has nothing to do but to stair out of his back window of his living room into a courtyard that is in the center of other apartment complexes. What is seen in the other apartments is a mystery you will have to reveal on your own. And when you do; you will be stunned with that you've concluded. Alfred Hitchcock did a brilliant job filming this story, as he does with all of his films. The different techniques that he uses play such an enormous part in this film. For example: when the man in the apartment tries to hide in a particular scene from another man, instead of running to another room, he scoots himself into a shadow, and it is so much more practical. The shadow across his face adds suspense and mystery that running away does not.

Another powerful touch on the film was the soundtrack. All of the music and noise that is heard in this video are all from something going on in the scene. Whether it is the tapping of a hand on a table, or a man in his apartment across the courtyard playing his piano. None of the music was added in, it is all from the scene. Very Powerful!!!

The movie as a whole is not necessarily a spook, but more of a possible murder mystery. This film is very good and gripping. Even though its not exactly scary, it still draws in its viewer. It is definitely a Hitchcock classic that all should see. It is definetly a respected film because of the way it was filmed my Hitchcock. So definetly check it out, you will not be disappointed!
2004-03-01
But did you believe it?
Never saw the whole thing through until tonight, on TCM. And I must say, I again got impatient with Hitchcock's penchant for manipulating reality, as if it didn't matter, in setting up his character conflicts towards suspenseful endings. It's all to do with believing what you see. One should not take for granted any audiences, all of whom are familiar with real life.

The film begins with a long long establishing panning shot of the location and ends up in tight close-up of our hero at the window, which was fine, but why was the camera movement so shaky? Surely smooth pans were achievable back in 1954, weren't they?

Then silly little things annoyed me. Like, did New Yorkers ever leave their front doors unlocked? When I lived there in the early sixties, we installed police locks, because regular locks were deemed too easy for intruders to break in. And what was with the SLR camera and its huge long lens that Stewart kept peering through? He wasn't taking pictures, he seemed to be using it as a telescope in preference to his powerful binoculars.

Dramatic writing skill consists largely of giving information necessary to the plot in well disguised ways. When we first meet Grace Kelly, the method used to reveal her character's name was by her pointing out bits of furniture after herself - embarrassing. And one could not believe her sudden conversion from scorn to belief in Stewart's suspicions, nor her journey to dig up the murderer's garden while wearing the long flowing "new look" fashion, nor her break-in climbing ladders to get into his apartment.

What I'm saying is that paying attention to real-life situations to serve the setting up of dramatic conflict has always been a challenge for film-makers, and if done successfully can only serve to make the finished product much more acceptable - suspension of disbelief being key. Hitchcock too often reveals a contempt for this, preferring to manipulate the small details of real life, in order to serve what he sees as his higher purpose.
2009-06-28
Minimalist Suspense at its Best
The night is dark, quiet. But at peace? No. Jimmy Stewart, playing a gritty photographer, sleeps in his wheel-chair, the victim of some car racing accident, the result of his attempting to obtain an extraordinary picture. Now he's fettered by a cast as the result of this daring attempt. A shadow moves over his sleeping body. Is it malevolent? A rival come to enact revenge? Or the grim reaper come to take Stewart's soul? NO! It is none other than the 1950's goddess of cinema, Grace Kelly replete with white gown, scarf and gloves. She moves over the drowsy photographer and plants a kiss on his lips. The shadow is not a monster at all but an angel from Hollywood Heaven. Stewart has died and gone to eternal Paradise where he will love and worship Princess Grace for eternity! But for most of the movie he doesn't quite realize that Kelly is a beautiful gift, even beautifully wrapped!

There are films, both old and new, which boast a "cast of thousands" and shot in 5 different continents. Well, there are few feature-length films that were shot only on one sound state. And maybe none that I know of whose primary shots are essentially a handful of camera angles from a single vantage point on that one sound stage. Yet this is what Hitchcock does to tell a very compelling story. And the viewpoint is a laid-up photographer played brilliantly by Jimmy Stewart who has nothing better to do than watch people through his rear window.

The focus is Stewart's suspicion of criminal acts by one of his neighbors who he can see across the way with either his binoculars or his camera with zoom lens. His suspicion is aroused through his habit of innocently spying on the the inhabitants of the buildings on his block. What's interesting is the amount of mileage Hitchcock attains from telling a story from this peculiar vantage point in the form of other sub-stories. There is the woman on the bottom-floor of the apartment across the way who can't seem to find the right man, dubbed "Miss Lonely Heart". There is another younger woman, a dancer, who can't seem to keep men away from her. She is named "Miss Torso." A songwriter and/or composer lives in another apartment. A newlywed couple move in to another apartment. As the story unfolds, the other stories unfold as well in different ways. And in addition to the main story, most of the other stories have some sort of resolution by the end of the film.

This cinematic concept is one of the most innovative techniques ever backed by a major film studio. Stewart is perfectly cast as the husky photographer turned amateur sleuth. Grace Kelly who only seems to get better with each viewing, plays Stewart's desperate girlfriend who is involved in the fashion industry on Madison Avenue. The characters seem made for each other like Dracula and sunlight. She loves the glitz and glamorous life of the sophisticated fashion crowd on Madison Avenue while he seems more at home crawling in the mud of another country to get the photograph of a lifetime. Thelma Ritter keeps Stewart in check as the reluctant nurse who tries to get him to take the plunge with Kelly and also gets caught up in the mystery. And Raymond Burr plays the man across the way to whom Stewart focuses his attention. His unsmiling haunting expressions are enough to portray his secretive character.

This is an absolute masterpiece of film-making. The dialog is fun, witty, sarcastic, with constant innuendos about love and marriage. Kelly plays the "straight-man" while Stewart get's away with lines that he'd be lynched for today by women's groups. The only thing that doesn't make sense: why is Stewart so reluctant to tie the knot with Kelly? Grace Kelly was probably the Cary Grant of actresses in the 1950's with millions of males looking on with absolute jealousy of her leading men. (I'm sure many men's heart went bust when she became Princess Grace) Of course, Stewart sees her as "too perfect", "too beautiful", and "too smart" for him. Ironically, the more he pushes her away the more she wants to come back to him. Which does point to one of the strangest foibles of the human psyche: when someone can't quite have something that he or she wants, the more he or she wants it!
2007-01-11
Hated the ending
****MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS****

This movie could have been about a 9 but they built it all up to the most stupid and predictable ending ever!

Where was the twist?

What was the message? Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean your neighbors aren't trying to kill you...? Really disappointing.

Hitchcock had it primed to deliver a powerful ending with Stewart's paranoia either destroying his own life (getting his girlfriend jailed, his best friend fired, and losing his own mind) and/or destroying his neighbor's life for no reason (getting him arrested for murder even though his wife was still alive, or killing him/suicide out of fear).

The era this film was made demanded a much more wholesome ending. As a result we were forced to accept that despite all logic and evidence to the contrary, the paranoid crackpot murder theory of a shut-in depressed photographer was dead right from the beginning.

This film should be remade with a much more intelligent and thought provoking ending.
2008-07-31
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