Thursday, April 3, 2014
Retro Review: Rear Window (1954)
'Rear Window': A Voyeuristic Venture Into Sheer Mystery
Thus far, this is one of the few films that I have seen from Alfred Hitchcock. However, after watching both this and Psycho, I can honestly say that they did NOT call Alfred Hitchcock the Master Of Suspense for nothing as I was on edge up until the film's gripping climax.
Rear Window is about a photographer named L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (James Stewart) who has a broken leg and is bound to a wheelchair. He spends his days looking outside the window of his apartment and one night, he hears a scream from a woman and begins to suspect that her husband is involved in her sudden disappearance.
What I Liked About It:
Where do I begin here? First off, I have to really discuss the direction from Mr. Alfred Hitchcock. The film is mostly shot from a rather voyeuristic point of view, making us see what the main protagonist sees, even when he is using his camera. One scene in particular that I loved was when a neighborhood dog (*spoiler alert*) dies and the neighbors gather and peak outside as its body is found, except for the suspect whose lights in his apartment are completely shut off, making the audience more suspicious of him. The entire film is even filmed and set in one apartment room by the rear window of the title and it is amazing how Hitchcock is able to take that minimalist approach to such a gripping thriller.
One thing that I personally took away from this film was that it was somewhat philosophical. There is one scene where Jeff asks Lisa if his form of voyeurism is wrong and she then says she doesn't know much about "rear window" ethics but asks "What ever happened to that old saying, "Love thy neighbor"? Plus, in the scene where the dog is found dead, the dog's owner yells at her neighbors saying how they don't know the meaning of the word neighbors. In my opinion, those two scenes reflect a sort of distance that neighbors tend to have with each other, regardless of how physically close they are. I also loved just how Hitchcock gives us a view of Jeff's different neighbors who live various lifestyles and come from different generations.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Rear Window is a very gripping thriller that will keep you on edge up until the heart pounding climax. This one I highly recommend not just because it is a classic by the Master of Suspense, but because it is one of the best thrillers that I have ever seen. This is one not to be missed.