Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer: John Michael Hayes
Based on: Cornell Woolrich‘s short story It Had to Be Murder
Cast: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey, Raymond Burr
Jeff (James Stewart) broke his leg and that means that he is trapped in a wheelchair in his appartment for the hottest days of summer. He spends his time watching the other people around his backyard – at least when he’s not visited by his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) or his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly). But then Jeff believes that he heard and saw a murder happening. Only that there is no body, no evidence and no way for him to investigate. And maybe he imagined it after all?
I enjoyed Rear Window. Despite the well-known plot, it was tense but most surprisingly for me was that it was really funny.
Honestly what I loved most about the film where both of the women: Stella, with her dry sense of humor and her directness and Lisa with her strongwilled self-confidence. Next to them, Jeff pales as a character.
Though that may also be due to the dazzling Grace Kelly. I never saw a movie with her before and now that I have, I can really understand what all the fuss was about. She does shine and she steals every single moment she’s in.
Much as with Psycho, the big reveal of Rear Window is very well known by now. But Hitchcock doesn’t rely on his plot twists to make his movies tense and exciting. I was at the edge of my seat several times despite knowing how things would end (Shyamalan, take note). Plus, I loved how the movie stays within Jeff’s boundaries. The audience only gets to see what Jeff gets to see. That is probably a big part of why the tension remains.
Also, it is just really funny, which I did not expect at all. Especially Thelma Ritter has the comedic timing down. The only thing I didn’t like so much was the resolution of the side plots (particularly Ms Lonelyhearts’ development was shoddily done). But since it’s only the supporting characters that got that treatment, I can live with it very well.
Summarizing: As a movie should be.