Premier auteur director, Alfred Hitchcock, gives his audience a good hard look at the lives of their neighbors in this classic thriller. Arguably his best (and most well-known) film next to his 1960 shocker, Psycho, Rear Window has quickened pulses and induced paranoia for more than 60 years. Televised often, and part of many many home collections, the film certainly withstands the test of time, and entertains as well today as it did in its own time.
The compelling (and often copied) story creates an ever-building sense of suspense and impending danger even though the film takes place, effectively, in a single room with a wheelchair-bound protagonist. The writers (Hayes and Woolrich) accomplish something truly remarkable -- keeping the audience interested and the story moving despite the fact that the location and protagonist can't.
The brilliant sound design and startlingly effective cinematography pull the audience into Jeffries' paranoid world, but it really falls to the performances of the affable Jimmy Stewart and the inexpressibly beautiful Grace Kelly to carry the film. Both succeed. As a pair, and against Raymond Burr's mostly silent menace, they give the audience characters that are at once flawed and vulnerable and also genuinely likeable and funny. This is a character-based thriller, and neither the characters nor the thrills disappoint. Hitchcock earns his sterling reputation with this one.
SAXTON'S FILM PICKS
People are always asking me what my favorite movies are, so I thought I'd make a list with reviews. I'll try to add a new pick every so often until my huge list of favorites is complete.
If you've seen one (or more) of the films, please add your own (appropriate) comments and reviews.