Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock 1954): USA

Reviewed  by Samuel McAtee. viewed at AFI film festival 2010

Rear Window, a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock, shows what voyeuristic tendencies would be had if left no other means of entertainment. L.B. Jeffries, played by James Stewart, is confined to his room due to a broken leg. A shot panning by his shelving shows pictures of a race car accident giving some information as to why hes all layed up in a cast. A very simple way of describing his predicament. The film gives the audience a good feeling of intrigue into the lives of Mister Jeffries’ neighbors. Through camera shots that give you the feeling of looking through a pair of binoculars, to the wide shots from the back of his room showing him looking outward at his neighbors as tho there lives were levels of a book  shelf and he would pick and chose which life would intrigue him that day. There is “miss lonely hearts”, the ballerina, “the newly weds”, “the musician” etc. and he is becoming more and more intregued watching and dissecting there lives. In the film James Stewart’s character becomes increasingly suspicious of his salesman neighbor Lars Thorwald of murder.  Hitchcocks choice in a couple scenes to have Lars Thorwald’s room pitch black accept for a red glow from the end of his cigarette really gives a creepy sense of fear and wonder as to what the character is up to.  L.B. Jeffrie’s home care nurse Stella, played by Thelma Ritter, is some what of a comic relief in the film, giving subtle anticdotes and making light of the possibly murderous neighbor provides theaudiance with levity. I think this film is a masterpiece, and far ahead of its time predating reality tv shows, a real depiction of how we can so easily become consumed by other peoples lives.

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