Joining us today is Lee of My Mind Reels Through Film, who runs a neat little blog you should totally pop on over to check out! With a variety of reviews and opinions of his own as well as some interesting discussions, he definitely runs a blog worth following.
Rear Window is one of Hitchcock’s best! I only recently came across it in my James Stewart collection box set not realising it was there. It plays particular resonance with me as I have been in a situation very similar to the James Stewart character. I had months of just sitting around at home. Not being able to do anything due to a shattered knee cap. My neighbours will be pleased to know that a very large bush which obscures any view of their houses. I have lost count of the times I’ve said the simplest storylines are often the best. This is a very simple storyline with very few characters and a not much in the way of a set. The set was built in the studio which is quite amazing and they purposely built the set down into the ground. This was all part of Hitchcock’s vision as was the case in all his films.
The basic storyline is about a man with a broken leg with not much to do. In his boredom he starts to look through his “Rear Window” at his neighbours, he gives them all names and follows their daily routines, which are pretty simple and not too exciting. This is until something very sinister occurs, but not blatantly so. It’s the sort of thing that happens where you could easily think your imagination is running away with you because it surely cant be true. As the film develops the events start to become clearer and the result almost unquestionable. James Stewart has a lovely girlfriend in the shape of the beautiful Grace Kelly. He is not too sure about the relationship, which to us mere mortals, sounds quite ludicrous! But it is the case, although their relationship develops with the mysterious neighbours. she is his legs and puts herself in a dangerous position which gets your heart pumping and you almost want to scream out even though you know you cant save her. The tension brings you out in a sweat and the close camera work makes you feel as if you are there. James and Grace are the stars and they bring about an amazing performance during the film in such a closed set and where you do not see them in the outside world, Raymond Burr is terrifying as the man involved in these sinister act. It is hard to believe that he went on to play ironside. His presence in front of the camera is huge and you feel that you cannot escape him even though there is a screen between you and his large figure. The fact that you are peering from the wheelchair makes him look even bigger.
I don’t want to give to much away, but this film is unique in the way it is filmed and the way that you only get to see a few characters close up. You live through James Stewart’s eyes almost throughout the whole film. Hitchcock and Stewart got on really well as did Grace Kelly with her talent and beauty. This shows in the way the actors deliver. This is not in my top 10, but is number 1 in my Hitchcock collection. Films like this can still work as we have seen in films like Locke, where there are very few characters and only one set. As an English man I am proud that Hitchcock had such an influence on film although sad that British film is no longer what it was. He really was a genius and very clever in the way he used the camera along with his great choice in casting. This is a must see film especially now it has been remastered for DVD and looks amazing.