Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rear Window: Apparently Dead Dogs Are Also a Good Fertilizer.

It has come to my attention recently that I have never done a post on Rear Window. I'm not sure I can answer why that is- but I think it has something to do with that fact that I just assumed I posted up a review once when I was delirious or something- therefore forgetting that I never actually wrote anything in the first place.

So I will proceed in saying that Rear Window is one of the greatest films made by non other than Freddy Hitchcock. It stars James Jimmy Stewart as well as one of the most beautiful women in the world... Princess Grace of Monaco.
Sigh. Let's just take a moment to remember the wonderful Grace Kelly shall we?

OK. So Jimmy Stewart plays L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies a photographer who was injured while taking what were probably some really exciting photos. As a result, Jeff is confined to his home in a wheelchair with his sad broken leg and his camera. So what is a man to do when he has a broken leg? Spy on the neighbors of course! It's a good thing Jeff's apartment consists mostly of windows because he lives around some truly enticing characters. Now let me be clear that I am the number one offender of spying on people- so it was no surprise that I found those spying scenes completely moving. BUT even if you don't like spying on people- Hitchcock does something insanely marvelous here...he forces you to watch- AND become enthralled and invested in the action as much as Jeff does! It's probably one of my favorite parts about this film and not just because I'm super nosy.

Anyways- Jeff soons starts paying close attention to one of his neighbors-- Lars Thorwald a perpetually grumpy sort of man and his bedridden wife. After Jeff starts noticing that Thorwald takes several late night trips, often emerging with a large hand case- and polishing off a knife and handsaw he starts to wonder what has happened to Mrs. Thorwald- and whether or not Thorwald is up to some bad behavior.

Another simply great thing that this movie does which I can actually connect believe it or not to Martyrs- is that it creates a sense of disbelief. We too are experiencing the same strangeness when observing Thorwald's behavior- but what if Jeff is sorely mistaken? What if Mrs. Thorwald really has just gone on a vacation? How can he be so sure? This sort of feeling stays with us right till the end- when Thorwald's final confession to the police is almost like a deserved slap to the face.

Now as for the tension in this movie....holy crap! The scene where Grace Kelly breaks into Thorwald's apartment and we watch her every move from Jeff's point of view is so freaking intense. Every single time I watch that scene and see Thorwald mosey back into his apartment- while the unknowing Grace Kelly still searches in vain for evidence--I scream out loud with anguish.

And then of course the ultimate scene of intensity and excitement!--when Thorwald discovers why Grace Kelly is pointing at the ring on her finger... When he looks right into Jeff's apartment- I seriously lose my cool. Poor Jimmy Stewart is helpless and alone in his wheelchair- trapped with nowhere to go! It may be the most thrilling bit of cinema to ever grace the screen.

So in a nutshell- this is one of the best Hitchcock movies ever- and also just one of the best movies ever period. It's got suspense, it's got comedy and it even has a little risque interaction with Kelly and Stewart that caused many people in 1954 to stare at it with disgust! Can you imagine the sort of hate mail Alfred Hitchcock received when he showed that Grace Kelly brought her nightgown over the Jimmy Stewart's house?!

Oh and also sad dog death in this one folks. Keep a box of tissues close at hand.


The Mike said...

Good write up! It's my favorite movie. Your comments on the tension are spot on. I also really love the dialogue between Stewart/Kelly/Ritter/Corey...their bickering and theorizing adds to the intrigue of the plot and also makes them more real to the audience.

Andre Dumas said...

So true! I could easily watch this movie every single week and never tire of it!

Gory said...

Could not agree more. It's just flat out a masterpiece of the highest order in the annals of film.

The scene in the apartment is a super one. I saw this film for the first time when I was in high school. The kid that saw every slasher film around, who thought he had seen it all, who didn't think any "older" film could affect him, was taken to school that day by Alfred Hitchcock. When she's in the apartment and Thorwald comes back I was so tense I literally stood up off the couch. As if I was going to run over there. I have never forgotten that. It was a much needed humbling on my part.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Monaco in 2007, when they had the Princess Grace exhibit (sadly, that year marked the 25th anniversary of her death).

I have to say that it was the most amazing exhibit I've ever seen. 17 rooms of Princess Grace's life. I saw her Oscar, the dress she wore to the Oscars, her wedding dress, and several dresses she wore in movies.

Unfortunately, the black and white number she wears when she first appears in Rear Window was not among the collection, but they did have Jimmy Stewart's wheelchair.

Along the walls were several letters written to HRH from Alfred Hitchcock -- he wrote his letters by hand and signed them, "Hitch"!

B-Sol said...

Thought you might get a kick out of this SNL spoof...

Andre Dumas said...

B-Sol.... Blasphemy! Grace Kelly Does not fart! haha very classic

Izzy said...

oh GAWD andre im sorry— after asking you to do a write up of rear window i totally missed it being published (as i am no longer unemployed).

ANYWAYS. i love this movie so much. that scene when jimmy sees the killer walking up to his apartment with grace kelly inside is the BEST kind of suspense. terrifying. and when jimmy knows the mans coming, and hes helpless to stop him— horrifying!

awesome write up. oh! also i love how jimmy figures out where the body is because the flowers are higher in a current photo than in an older one.

things i love that have nothing to do with the horror: the neighbors with a swingers pad who are always having parties and playing music (i guess that provides juxtaposition to the evil killer neighbor)
AND grace kellys outfits.

okay anyways can we have a rear window night at your apartment? [longest post ever]