by guest writer
Having seen Rear Window (1954) only recently after a period of a few good years, I realized, once again, how good this movie really is. For those of you who don’t know the story, I won’t spoil it, I will concentrate on a few hints and on what makes it a masterpiece of world cinema. Jeff (James Stewart) is a photographer bound to a wheelchair due to an accident suffered on one of his legs. He receives only a few visitors, as he doesn’t feel very sociable, not even with his beautiful girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly). His alienation from society is shown through his growing interest in his backyard neighbours. It’s interesting to observe Alfred Hitchcock’s choice of characterization in Jeff’s case. The director concentrates to illustrate the character’s feelings by placing him in different predicaments, one of which will torment him until he finds out the truth.
Robert Burks’ photography is in perfect synergy with Hitch’s point of view which is placing the camera on the objects that are important in suggesting or building up tension and sustaining it. The scene in which Jeff is confronted with Mr. Thorwald is pure cinema by definition and the use of lighting and flashes of light makes it one the best in cinema history by associating strong contrasts. Humour is another recognizable ingredient that adds up to the usual recipe. Franz Waxman’s music doesn’t disappoint, being just as an active participant as the others in the construction of the suspense sought out by the director. Rear Window was also François Truffaut’s second favourite movie after Notorious (1946). It’s sheer entertainment, Hitchcock’s way!
photo: still from the film | Paramount Pictures