My Review of ‘Rear Window’ (1954)

RearWindow_Poster

I discovered this movie during the time in my life when my husband and I often spend a night watching the film (or two) at the old Key Theatre in DC. It was one of many classics I enjoyed while going through a period of Hitchcock binging (before that term became fashionable), and it blew me away.

The premise of a man named L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) confined by injury to a wheelchair playing Peeping Tom to pass the time and drawing all sorts of conclusions from what he sees was intriguing from the start.

RearWindow1

There’s so much to love about this film, it’s hard to reduce it to a few paragraphs. But let’s start with the suspenseful way the hint that a murder may have been committed in one of those apartments is planted. Not to mention the slow, agonizingly slow buildup as that hint grows into likelihood.

And did Hitchcock not cast the perfect suspect in Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald? Perry Mason never looked so shifty-eyed or mean.

So not Perry Mason!

So not Perry Mason!

Then there’s the humor. While Jeffries is convinced that the cops need to bust down Thorwald’s door and take him in, he ends up fencing words with his friend Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey), a New York City police detective. Not only does Doyle throw cold water all over Jeffries’ theories, but his tart-tongued home nurse (played with sardonic aplomb by Thelma Ritter) gets her own jabs in. She tells him in no uncertain terms, “Mind your own beeswax. And marry that great girl, Lisa.” More on her in a moment.

The humor of the film extends to the little nicknames Jeffries bestows upon his neighbors. Like the very attractive blonde “Miss Torso” and the single, middle-aged “Miss Lonelyhearts”.

RearWindow7

Miss Torso, in case you hadn’t guessed!

In the case of the latter, the humor contrasts sharply with a scenario that creates more tension in the already suspenseful film. And then there’s Lisa – Jeffries’ girlfriend, played to (icy blonde) perfection by Grace Kelly.

A classic pose by the amazing Grace!

A classic pose by the amazing Grace!

Notable not only for her multitude of amazing outfits, Lisa warms up considerably (as icy blondes go) when she leans in for her close up!

Add to that all the painstaking effort Hitchcock took in having the set constructed just so, and it’s clear that the Master of Suspense outdid himself with this one.

Amazing set!

Amazing set!

Thelma gets the last word!

Thelma gets the last word!

Among the very best of Hitchcock’s movies, this film gets a definite two thumbs up!

Hand showing thumbs up. All on white background.

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This entry was posted in Crime Fiction, Hitchcock, Suspense and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My Review of ‘Rear Window’ (1954)

  1. That set is fascinating. It took six weeks to build, apparently.

    This is a terrific movie, but I have to say I am a little miffed that Hitchcock didn’t give Thelma Ritter more screen time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done review of a good Hitchcock flick. As mentioned in the fine print on the poster, the movie was based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich. He wrote 20 noir mystery/suspense novels, most of which became movies, but he is mostly remembered for Rear Window. The short story is different, but good, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debbi says:

      It’s interesting how a short story can be extended out to fill a feature length film’s running time.

      I saw the film “The Killers” before reading the short story. The movie pretty much extrapolates completely from the short story, which just describes the opening. Yet it works either way. 🙂

      I’ll have to check out the original story behind this film.

      Like

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