|Rating: The Good – 90.2
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Duration: 112 mins
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter
One of the most innovative and entertaining of all films, this Alfred Hitchcock classic tells the story of an apartment-bound photographer who spends his days following the lives of his neighbours from the window at the rear of his apartment. However, while peering in on the intimate goings on the various personalities, he begins to suspect that one of them has done away with his wife. James Stewart is as usual eminently watchable as the laid-up free-spirit and he brings an enjoyable air to the proceedings. The excellent Grace Kelly is the love interest who hails from wealthy stock and for whom Stewart has mixed feelings. The real star of the show is of course Hitchcock, who’s meticulous crafting of the often explorative courtyard scenes (the area Stewart is peering out into) is a lesson in framing, tracking, lighting, and pacing. Notice how he lures one into the voyeuristic world that Stewart’s character is inhabiting by soundtracking the action with the various sounds and music that the neighbours produce as they go about their daily business. And how he uses that soundtrack to contrast the screaming of the victim against the natural hum of the real world. Rear Window is a fascinating watch because of this technical mastery but it’s also one hell of an enjoyable thriller thanks to a combination of it, John Michael Hayes’ perceptive script (based on Cornell Woolrich’s short story), and the acting from all involved.