L.B. Jefferies is a photographer who has recently gotten into an accident, rendering him in a wheelchair for weeks. He spends his days at home, stationed by his rear window, watching his neighbors. His curiousity got the better of him when he heard a neighbor scream - and when he looked out hours later, he saw his neighbor Lars Thorwald leave his apartment thrice in the middle of the night. That morning, he had concluded that he must have murdered his wife, as LARS was acting eerily suspicious, and his wife was nowhere to be found. He shares his theories to Detective Doyle, his nurse Stella, and his girlfriend Lisa, and they assist him in uncovering the mystery behind his neighbor.
What Rear Window manages to impart is the mere curiousity we have - that it’s in human nature, and we tend to make conclusions and theories based on the observations we arrive at, conclusions that further strengthen our theories. Curiousity can sometimes help us, but it can also get the better of us, and in this case, it’s both. The film itself was pretty straightforward. The opening scene presents the back story and the introduction to what will happen for the next hour and so. It doesn’t employ plenty of twists and turns, but rather focuses on a lengthly build up, sprinkling clues about their theory along the way. While some of the information had some logical answers, there were still questions left unanswered, further leading Jeffferies to investigate, even just by the helm of his window.
While the suspenseful feeling at the climax was very much spot on, the film could have used some brevity in terms of the build up because the final act seemed so rushed. It did take its time getting to know the rest of the neighborhood, and while there were significant findings in the scenes, it could have used some brevity. The film also tried to focus on the direction of the relationship Jefferies and Lisa had, but it just gets pushed aside in a latter part. It does get incorporated in the mystery he is trying to prove, but the basis could have been just established during the first parts and leave it at that, instead of dwelling on it further.
Not only is this my first Hitchcock film, but it’s also my first James Stewart and Grace Kelly film. While both actors did good work on the film, I would prefer if my first film I’ve seen of theirs has more movement. However, given that the film was basically set in one area, they did good work in their confined space. Stewart was limited in terms of movement, but his character still had the conviction and urgency, especially when Kelly's character was just about to get caught in the act. Grace Kelly was glamorous, and it was hard not to take your eyes off her as she goes through the film.
It was certainly a good film. It gave me a glimpse of how Hitchcock's style works, and how he perceives his films to be. It can use a bit of trimming, but maybe the length is part of his style, similar to Scorsese's lengthily films.
Final Word: I'm not sure if this was the best film to start with in terms of Hitchcock's filmography, but a good film nonetheless.
Cast: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Director: Alfred Hitchcock