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Rear Window
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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Lots to see, even on a third viewing
Made around the same time that televisions started to become an essential part of the home, 'Rear Window' paints an interesting time capsule of a society devoid of television, where the only entertainment if stuck at home all day is watching the neighbours' activities. In fact, 'Rear Window' could even be seen as a film about television, with Jeffries, the protagonist, switching views of other apartments just like a man constantly changing channels on his television set. As Thelma Ritter's character Stella says, "We have become a race of peeping toms", relating to a key issue of the film: the voyeuristic tendencies of society.

Although it would not be made for another twelve years, the film bears a strong resemblance to 'Blowup', with Jeffries stating that "right now, I'd welcome trouble", an indication that his mind is overactive, searching for something interesting to follow. And with his detective friend, a character representing the devil's advocate, we are constantly hanging on the edge, weighing up the evidence for ourselves. We are also able to do more investigating than what the characters themselves conduct. In different windows, different events occur, some of which the protagonists note, and others of which we ourselves observe only.

The cinematography helps a lot in serving this cause. There are at least a couple of shots that scan the courtyard and then go back into Jeffries' apartment. These shots at first appear to be taken from the perspective of the characters, but since they do not end on the characters looking out the window, Hitchcock establishes a separation between us and the characters. We are learning more about what is happening outside when they are distracted. The way we are introduced to Jeffries also probes us to investigate: first we see his leg, then photos of accidents, and only later do we realise that the photographs are of potential accidents, rather than photos of his accident.

The opening shots of the film are amazing. Three blinds are slowly opened in the background as the main credits roll, just like how we are slowly opening our eyes as the film begins. Then the camera goes through the window, explores the courtyard, and finally ends up inside Jeffries' apartment, and on a perfectly focused shot of Jeffries. Another great shot is Lisa's first scene, where she kisses Jeffries in slow motion, almost as if it is a dream. The film is full of great shots and excellent camera-work, and to think - Hitchcock probably had to call most of those shots from the distance! It's a very fine directorial achievement.

Speaking of Hitchcock, his cameo here serves more purpose than in any other film of his. Before Thorwald notices that he is being watched, Hitch is the only character to actually look back at Jeffries. And aside from that, it's quite interesting with the whole relationship that is then established between director, actor, film, audience: the whole chain that is controlling what we are seeing. If nothing else, Hitch's cameo reminds us that even though we see more than what the characters are see, we only ever see ourselves what he allows us to see.
Outdated. Absurd at times.
Alfred Hitchcock was the king of suspense. But fact is, the excitement and thrill which his movies used to produce back then in the time when entertainment was minimal and unexplored doesn't even live to up half of its original now. The methods to decipher and go through a case looks pale now.

Rear window is a creative outlook in movie making. But there ain't anything special about the rest. It's heroics of a jobless injured protagonist causing a break through. May be a hard to miss movie, if the purpose is to build a list of classics watched.

The ratings are too generous. The movie is dry and goes into the obvious. Boring.
One of the greatest Hitchcock films, but not his best
While Psycho is still my favorite Hitchcock film, this comes very, very close to that. Having only seen the made-for-TV remake starring Christopher Reeves, I was quite excited to see this, as it's referred to by many as one of the(if not the) greatest Hitchcock thriller. Now, while I still prefer Psycho over this, I must say that it's a very well-done and effective mystery-thriller, and most of the second half had me almost biting my nails from suspense. The plot is very good, and its theme appeals to some of the most base instincts, including the tiny little voyeur that we all have. The pace is great, I was never bored during any point of the movie. The acting is great, Stewart and Kelly give excellent performances. The characters are all well-written, credible, and, as they almost always are under Hitchcock's direction; very human. The cinematography is excellent; most of the camera angles are from inside the main character's apartment, which creates a very effective and scary feeling of claustrophobia and adds to the suspense. The mystery keeps you guessing throughout the movie, but the ending seemed a little like a letdown... there's no definite answer to the mystery. Then again, maybe that was Hitchcock's intention... to any true mystery, there is no real answer. And Hitchcock probably wanted to have each viewer make up an answer for him- or herself. The film has some great suspense, and a few of the scenes will have you sitting at the edge of your seat. The ending was very close to being anticlimactic, but it managed to make up for it by having one of the most thrilling and nail-biting endings in a Hitchcock film ever. The main reason I rate Psycho higher than this on a personal scale is that the theme works better there... the killer is more easily understandable, while here he's just... well, sloppy and arrogant, half of the time. That was my one complaint while watching the movie, and it won't bring down my rating, not even a notch, because I'm positive it was the way Hitchcock intended it to be. His characters are always human, and what is more human than failing? I recommend this film to any fan of thriller, mystery and/or Hitchcock. You won't be disappointed. Great film. 10/10
An Interesting Psychological Thriller
One of the most remarkable things about Rear Window is the way in which the perspective of the cinematography contributes to a feeling of claustrophobia for the viewer as we experience everything outside of the protagonist's apartment from his point of view looking out of his window as he recuperates from a broken leg. The film is an interesting commentary on voyeurism, privacy, and gender although I wish that the plot had been a bit more developed than it was and that the audience was given more context for the murder of the villain's wife, the event which drives the action in the movie. I also wish that the conflicted feelings of the protagonist in reference to marrying his girlfriend had been dealt with in a fuller sense.
Tremendous thriller. Classic Hitchcock.
In '54, I was seven years old and this is one of the first 'grown up' movies I remember seeing. I have seen it at least ten times since and realize seeing something different each time.

James Stewart is a photographer in a wheelchair recovering from an accident. He passes the time by watching his neighbors out his apartment window. He thinks that he witnessed a murder and has trouble convincing his girlfriend, Grace Kelly, to help prove a crime was committed.

Three scenes that always stuck with me:(1) Stewart fighting off his attacker with flashbulbs (2) the smoldering kiss (3) the glowing cigarette in the dark apartment.

Every bit a classic. I think this is THE BEST Hitchcock movie. No offense intended toward PSYCHO, but this movie has the more human aspects of fear and terror. This super cast includes Raymond Burr, Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey.
Tenement Symphony
Hitchcock buffs often point out that his serious movies are laced with laughs and this one has a terrific laugh toward the end. Murder suspect Raymond Burr has been lured out of his apartment in order that Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter can dig up the flowerbed. Frustrated to find nothing Kelly enters his apartment in search of evidence. Stewart, watching from across the courtyard, sees Burr returning and unable to warn Kelly rings the police - after first looking up the number - explains that a man is assaulting a woman (not true, though he IS about to) and - wait for it - the police ARRIVE inside five minutes. I mean is this funny or not. I seem to be saying the same thing over and over; namely that Hitchcock is vastly overrated. Why then do I watch his films. Well you might ask. The short answer is that I know a lot of people, some of them are even friends, who have, in my opinion, fallen for the hype, because by now the myth is self-perpetuating, and keep pressing dvds on me in the hope of converting me. They're something akin to those well-meaning folks who can't see an unattached person without attempted matchmaking. So far I'm holding out. Whilst I acknowledge a competent filmmaker that's as far as it goes. On the other hand any director would have his work cut out to coax even a mediocre, let alone a bad performance out of Jimmy Stewart just as any director would have his work cut out to elicit anything resembling acting from Grace Kelly. So now we have a stand-off. On the plus side we have Thelma Ritter, who enhances anything she appears in but then he spoils it again by casting ex-Forestry Commission employee Wendell Corey. Not as bad as To Catch A Thief but then what is.
A typical Hitchcock movie
First, long setup and short climax. The setup phase (about 90 minutes) may make you bored. But the climax (the last 20 minutes) really let you hold your breath. Second, a happy ending. Hitchcock never let a tragedy happen in the end.

By the way, Lisa, played by Grace Kelly, is the best girlfriend one can dream of. She is smart, beautiful, brave, kindhearted and devoted.

The Hitchcock movies I like are as follows:

1. The 39 steps 2. Stage Fright 3. Strangers on a Train 4. Rope 5. The Lady Vanishes 6. Rear Window
the most over rated film ever.
oh my god, i may believe that sun can rise from west but can't believe the position of this movie on IMDb's list of top 250. it doesn't deserve even to be in top 1000. there is no mystery, no thrill. what it does contain is a person just keep looking out of the window all the day to all kind of people. i shall advice all mystery lovers that it can make your mystery taste very sour. one more thing is that a movie directed by alferd hitchcock doesn't guarantee its success. below average for me. all the facts given in this movie are verbal and not practically filmed. whole movie contains buildings with windows.shut the windows on this kind of movie.
A true classic. This film is... (yawn) ...sorry, what was I talking about?
This movie was a very influential piece by a very influential man. They tell me this flick changed the way some things were done in the movie business. I am told by others that this one is one of the truly best of Hitchcock's, well worth checking out. I, nevertheless walked into this movie with an open mind. A mind that quickly got bored.

I did like the caught-up-in-the-mystery feeling that flashed through a few scenes. I did like the famous drawl of James Stewart, and his character's wit throughout. And I am now interested in reading some of Cornel Woolrich's short stories, from which this screenplay was created. But still, I was bored.

Leaving behind the "importance" of this movie and only commenting on how it affected me, I only give it a four out of ten. On my personal rating scale that's counted as "not great, not horrible, don't bother." See it if you must. It is, after all, one of the talked about films in certain circles. If you have not seen it and end up in one of those circles, rest assured that the person extolling it's genius is most likely paraphrasing a magazine article he or she read last night and is not too sure what they are supposed to think about this one.
A Classic!!!
Rarely does a motion picture come along that is so genuinely intense that it sends cold chills down one's spine. This was a knack that late director Alfred Hitchcock immersed his films in-particularly, `Rear Window.' Starring the late, great Jimmy Stewart and the gorgeous Grace Kelly, `Rear Window' is a spine tingling film that leaves the audience guessing and one the edge of their seat. L. B. 'Jeff' Jeffries (Steward) sits in his apartment, stuck in a wheel chair with a broken leg after photographing a car accident. He's been there for nearly seven weeks and all he does is watch out his apartment's back window at the other tenants in their apartments across his backyard. All seems normal until one night he hears a scream and notices that in one apartment, a woman who was sick in bed is no longer there. And her husband, a salesman, has been leaving the house late at night. Jeff suspects the man has killed his wife, but can't prove it. Jeff's story seems contrived and silly to his nurse, a close friend, and his girlfriend Lisa (Kelly). But clues soon turn up that will leave these characters forever changed.

Hitchcock masterfully directs this classic from 1954. The one astounding aspect of `Rear Window' is that it all takes place inside Jeff's apartment. The camera never leaves the room, except to occasionally pan around the exterior of the backyard. Also, Hitchcock sets up interesting characters in each of the apartments. There are the newlyweds, a woman who is an artist, a woman who is a dancer, a man struggling with writing music that will sell, and another woman who is so distraught from lonliness that Jeff refers to her as ‘Miss Lonely Heart.' The performances of `Rear Window' are some of best ever captured on celluloid. Naturally, Stewart can't touch a film without turning it to gold with his down-to-earth appeal. Kelly lights up the screen with her beauty and intriguing nature. Thelma Ritter is witty and engaging as Jeff's nurse, Stella, who provides her own insight into the relationship of Jeff and Lisa, but also into the possible murder. Wendell Corey plays Thomas Doyle, Jeff's friend who is an investigator. He gives his own explanation for the disappearance of the man's wife-she could have gone to visit family, or left him. And lastly, Raymond Burr plays Lars Thorwald, the man whose wife goes missing. Burr is terrifying in his portrayal as the strange salesman.

All in all, `Rear Window' proudly takes its place among the top 100 movies of all time from the American Film Institute (AFI). It's certainly one of the best movies ever made not so much because it has the ability to terrify its audience, but because of the brilliance in the filmmaking by arguably the greatest director of all time, Hitchcock. `Rear Window' is available for rental at local video stores. ****
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