The Painter and the Thief
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A modern classic that still works even 60 plus years later. You can tell this inspired a lot of Mystery / suspense movies.
Hitchcock binds James Stewart to a wheelchair, deposits him at the picture window of a big city apartment and lets an idle imagination find its own drama. In this case, it's a murder most foul behind the drawn curtains of a neighboring unit. Costar Grace Kelly is refined and magnetic as the fashion conscious would-be fiancée; a model of smooth-talking elegance who, after initial doubts, is soon drawn into the intrigue of what's actually happened in that dark room across the way. After an argumentative start, Stewart and Kelly quickly settle in as a close-knit pair of obsessed observers, stoking each other's suspicions and inducing a steady shared vigil. The issue of their troubled romance is problematic, introduced in the first act and never truly resolved, but that doesn't bother me. I much prefer them as whispering cohorts with a gossipy secret, and the film already has more than enough subplots going on.
It's a steaming pressure cooker of a suspense story, one which encourages viewers to second-guess their impressions and then punishes them for doing so. Like a large-scale stage production, the entire tale is told against a single backdrop: an unusually busy, uninhibited residential block. Sir Alfred's aptitude for frugal filmmaking is on full display here, utilizing every inch of screen to fill blanks and enrich the environment. It hustles, it bustles, it stirs in the morning and settles down after dark. We get to know each resident, to learn their habits and patterns, just like Stewart does from his lonely perch. Perhaps a little slow and meandering to start, once the pieces come together and our well-meaning voyeurs take matters into their own hands, it accelerates like a spooked getaway driver.
One of the best thrillers of all time and still fun to watch. If you're a movie buff, don't pass this one up.
A masterpiece in suspence and thrilling, that's executed brilliantly thanks to Hitchcock's trademark style.
Rear Window, Forward Cinema.
Why on earth a man, heterosexual and still relatively young, would spend his time looking out of his window when in his rooms there is a woman like Grace Kelly could be the real mystery left after watching Rear Window, the 1954 masterpiece directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Besides this cheeky and impudent question, this is really a masterpiece, one of the films most loved by his director and one of his more sophisticated, both narratively as well as cinematographically. Loosely based on a relatively unknown 1942 short story written by Cornell Woolrich, It Had to Be Murder, Rear Window sees L.B. Jefferies, a successful photo reporter played with enough confidence and progressive involvement by James Stewart, confined in his New York small apartment with a broken and plastered leg. In the sweltering summer heat, he turns and focuses his attention and lenses to the neighbouring apartments facing his condo's backyard, observing them with a fast growing interest that rapidly becomes excited voyeurism when he starts suspecting that a uxoricide took place in an opposite flat. Albeit reluctantly, also his beautiful fiancée Lisa, a Grace Kelly whose first appearance in the film is one of the most esthetically captivating close ups in movies history and fully justifies the hot ice nickname given to her allegedly by Alfred Hitchcock, as well as both the solid, down to earth nurse Stella, caustically played by a vitriolic Thelma Ritter, and the reluctant detective Tom Doyle, a fairly stolid Wendell Corey full of banal common sense, are drawn into his obsession with what neighbour Lars Thorwald, an imposing Raymond Burr, might or might not have done to his nagging wife.
The opening credits reveal straight away one of the movie's multiple codes, when the curtains of James raise to reveal the fixed scene of the coming attraction, the very same back yard where all flats look into. From then on, a static journey begins that reverses many established principles of the 50s filmmaking: the main character does not move, all the other, secondary casts actually play in front of him. The viewer, barring a short yet important moment when James Stewart falls asleep, has the same point of view of the protagonist, sees and interprets the story through the eyes and expressions of him. The soundtrack comes from within the movie, mostly heard from one of the apartments where a musician is living.
All these filmic and narrative details, together with the crafted and perfect jigsaw of which each apartment and neighbours' live is a piece, are added to the self-conscious study of voyeurism and the essential role of cinema to make an essential film, where no shot, no dialogue is redundant, and an evergreen masterpiece, at the same time celebrating and subverting the Hollywood's codes.
This is not the only Hitchcock's movie constructed in a theatrical form, but in no other the British master was able to extremize with such genius and depth of analysis the intertwined relationships between the eye and the mind, mixing like an esoteric alchemist obsessions and humor, suspense and sexuality, flashing light and silent darkness, individuality and collectivity, reality and perceptions.
Peeping Toms of the world, unite!
The story is so detailed and meticulously recreated on the screen, that it holds you from the beginning till the end.
Though it seems a bit naive from time to time from the modern viewer's point of view, it was a genuine novelty at the time, providing so much detail and bringing such a subtle psychological narrative to the screen.
A must see masterpiece.
It's Hitchcock!!! He is the master of suspense and produces the goods in this movie!
The Greatest Film of All Time
AFI 100 Greatest Films - #42: Not hard to see why this Hitchcock masterpiece receives the respect that it does as I, the viewer, found myself becoming just as obsessively immersed in the lives of these tenants as the exceptionally cast Mr. Stewart. Hitchcock, in creating such a beautifully textured film, allows the audience to feel like they are riding shotgun with Mr. Jeffries, experiencing the plot action and unraveling the mystery beside him.
[MASTERPIECE] I will not refrain from saying my heart was rattling my rib cage during the last act of this movie. I had seen other Hitchcock films prior to viewing this film for the first time, but it was not until those last 20 minutes of Rear Window that it became clear why he is one of the great directors. The film is built on a simple premise: a man witnesses - or thinks he witnesses - a murder across the street. He spends all of his time obsessing over it, and trying to convince the people around him of his theory. However, based off of my description, it may seem obvious that he is the killer. However, it is not that simple. At times in the film, we find ourselves questioning the reliability of James Stewart's character, L.B. Jefferies. Did the man across the street really murder his wife, or is L.B. Jefferies going insane? Few other movies have been able to plant us directly into the characters mind, so that everything they know we know, and, by extension, everything they think, we think.