Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rear Window (1954)

Actors: James Stewart, Grace Kelly
Dir: Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Billed by many film critics and scholars as one of the best and most thrilling movies of Sir Alfred, this is a fine movie and a must watch.

A simple story line that reflects everyone's life. Voyeurism, spying, espionage and gossiping, these seemingly big words are something which everyone of us do on a daily basis, knowingly or unknowingly. People trying to peep over your shoulders to see what is on your desk, what mail you are typing or what you are surfing or eating. We do this for adding some excitement to our lives at the expense of another man's freedom and space. That is the plot of this story. Add to this the classic Hitchcockian thrill, suspense element and a masterly camera work, Rear Window is born.

L.B. Jefferies a press photographer is confined to his bed due to a fracture in his leg. With the irritation of having been confined to his wheel chair and bed, and having to stay put at his house for an extended period of 6 weeks makes him long for some excitement in his life. From his rear window he tries spying on what the other people in his colony are up to.

His philandering eye sets on a salesman's house. This salesman's invalid wife is a nagging woman who at times irritates her salesman husband engaging him in arguments. One night Jeff sees the salesman in action walking in and out of his home a couple of times armed with a big suitcase. He comes to a conclusion that the salesman has murdered his wife and sets out to unravel the mystery with the help of his girlfriend Lisa, his nurse Stella and his detective friend Doyle.

What happened? Does Jeff manage to untie the mystery knot? That is the movie.

The viewer sees everything happening from the Point Of View of the wheelchair bound Jeff. This means that the camera is used in a narrative style following what Jeff sees with his voice directing the camera. At some places the camera also follows Lisa (Jeff’s girlfriend), Doyle (Jeff’s detective friend) and Stella (Jeff’s nurse)

Superb camerawork, amazing direction, a superb set and some great acting makes this a must watch.

Trivia: Sir Alfred appears in the movie at one of Jeff’s neighbors house. This gentleman in the neighborhood is a struggling music composer. Sir Alfred is seen working with him on some tunes.

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