Thursday, October 29, 2009
A Movie A Day: Rear Window is one of Hitchcock's very best
I rank Rear Window as my number 2 all time Alfred Hitchcock film, just behind The Lady Vanishes and just ahead of Psycho. Window is a treat for the viewer with gorgeous cinematography and excellent camera work from Hitch. The story is simple enough: maverick photographer Jeff (played by the great Jimmy Stewart) is laid up in his New York apartment with a broken leg. He is being cared for by his very upscale girlfriend Lisa (the luminous Grace Kelly) and his nurse Stella (the always reliable Thelma Ritter). With little to do Jeff begins spying on his neighbors across the courtyard and what neighbors does he have. You have a highly limber blonde dancer; a troubled songwriter; a lonely woman who can't find a date; a busybody old lady; a couple with an energetic little dog; and last but not least the couple directly across from him with a very large man named Lars Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr-before Perry Mason) and his sickly wife. Well amidst all the goings on between Jeff and Lisa-she is ready to marry, he not so much and Stella's constant needling, Jeff notices strange things between Lars and his wife. Before you know it, the wife has gone and Jeff suspects foul play. It takes a little convincing to bring Lisa and Stella to his way of thinking but eventually they agree. The police, on the other hand are a different story. So the trio decide they need proof and with Jeff hobbled with a cast on his broken leg, Lisa and Stella decide to do the leg work (no pun intended). What follows is a game of suspense taken up to the highest level. Rear Window is a near perfect film with fabulous performances. Stewart is solid as always as is Ritter, who gets to say most of the film's best lines including "Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin' yet". And Burr makes an effectively creepy bad man. But it's Grace Kelly who makes the movie for me. She just lights up the room whenever she comes in and the banter she trades with Stewart is pure bliss. I believe this to be Ms. Kelly's best film performance ever. Yes even better than her Academy Award winning role in The Country Girl. She never hits a wrong note as Lisa, and is a true joy to watch. Rear Window is one of the best films ever made and one of the best from ol Hitch.