Rear Window

Rear Window

*****

Reviewed by: Yusuf Javed

Alfred Hitchcock's Oscar-nominated Rear Window is set during a scorching hot summer in the early Fifties. Successful photographer LB “Jeff” Jeffries (played by James Stewart) is unwillingly anchored to his apartment because of a recent broken leg. Stuck anxiously, with nothing to do, the usually active photographer turns to peeping at his neighbours across the courtyard. Grace Kelly plays his high-class love interest, Lisa Fremont, who worries that his spectating is out of voyeurism instead of intrigue.

Against her will and that of his home nurse (Thelma Ritter) LB continues with his unusual past time. When late one night he assumes he has witnessed the scattered scenes of a crime, his suspicion is initially dismissed but eventually sucks them all into the mysterious neighbour’s actions.

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One of the great things about this movie is that the story is so immersive that audiences won’t wonder why instead of spying on the neighbours Jeff doesn't just read a book or watch the telly. Hitchcock makes the most of the biggest indoor set built at the time to create an amazing feeling of claustrophobic unease coupled with the need - not simply the desire - to watch more.

Kelly makes a terrific contribution with her grace, femininity and charm. She and Stewart have a great rapport and their relationship, as the woman wanting marriage and the man who repels it, adds humour to off-set the suspense-building aspects of the story. Kelly's performance is perfectly believable, as she goes from being sceptical and unconvinced to being enthralled and fascinated to the point at which she becomes Jeff’s investigative partner.

Hitchcock brilliantly builds suspense scene after scene allowing the viewer to become more and more engrossed in the plot. Every scene that passes you hold your breath while they peel back another layer of the unknown activity of neighbour Lars Thorwald. Rear Window not only has a story relatable to the subconscious curiosity and suspicions of anybody watching but, compared to many of the modern films with a similar subject, plays out with style, class, humour and of course a great unravelling. This is, in short, film-making at its finest.

Reviewed on: 21 Jul 2010
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Hitchcock's thriller masterpiece, in which a voyeuristic cameraman suspects murder in the apartment block opposite.
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Read more Rear Window reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray *****

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