Writers: Cornell Woolrich (Short Story), John Michael Hayes (Screenplay)
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Wendell Corey
Hitchcock is the master of suspense and Rear Window is the reason why. It's one of the most suspenseful movies I've ever seen. The momentum of the mystery gradually builds and makes your heart beat a little bit faster with each development. If it wasn't for the unsatisfying climax, I'd call it a perfect film.
L.B 'Jeff' Jeffries (James Stewart), a renowned photographer, has his leg stuck in a cast for many weeks. In the meantime, he's been observing his neighbours outside of his window. He has reservations about being in a relationship with the rich and fashionable socialite named Lisa (Grace Kelly). Jeff thinks that Lisa is not cut out for living his life on the road, whilst she wishes that he would play a bigger part in her glamourous world.
The whole film takes place in an apartment block where a small square patch of land sits in the middle of it all. We get a glimpse of the lives of the people living in the apartments with each story being interesting in their own right. The minimalist set production and cinematography was absolutely genius, making the small murder mystery look quite grand. What made it suspenseful was the thought of living so close to a murderer and not even knowing it. I also loved Hitchcock's use of special effects, such as when the camera flashed in the suspect's eyes; we saw how it made everything look like orange circles in his point of view.
You know who created all this suspense? Besides Alfred Hitchock... it was Raymond Burr. He played the man suspected of killing his wife. The particular scene that made me say "Oh shit!" was when he realised that Jeff was spying on him the whole time. It was the look in his eyes that gave me chills. Even though he spoke hardly any words, Burr goes on my list as one of the greatest 'villains' in movie history. Speaking of amazing scenes with Burr, my favourite in the whole film was when he sat in his darkened apartment, smoking a cigar. All you could see was the lit cigar being inhaled and exhaled, while the man is clearly looking out the window. This scene was majorly creepy.
Despite the ending leaving a bad taste in my mouth, Rear Window was an absolutely breathtaking film. It wouldn't surprise me if this movie topped the list of 'most suspenseful movies of all time.' Every single component in this film worked perfectly together. The actors all had great chemistry, the set production and cinematography set the suspense brilliantly, the dialogue was both chilling and witty. Although it's a near-perfect film, it isn't high on my list of favourite films by Alfred Hitchock.
My favourite films by Hitchock:
- Pyscho (1960)
- Rebecca (1940
- Vertigo (1958)
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
- Frenzy (1972)
- North By Northwest (1959)
- Notorious (1946)
- Rear Window (1954)