Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The entire movie was shot on one set, which required months of planning and construction. The apartment-courtyard set measured ninety-eight feet wide, one hundred eighty-five feet long, and forty feet high, and consisted of thirty-one apartments, eight of which were completely furnished. The courtyard was set twenty to thirty feet below stage level, and some of the buildings were the equivalent of five or six stories high. This movie was shot quickly on the heels of Dial M for Murder (1954), November 27, 1953 to January 13, 1954. See more »
(at about 1 hr 13 mins) Jeff wheels himself over to the window and bumps his leg (the one in the cast) against the wall below the window, yet he doesn't grimace at all. Once a broken leg in a cast begins healing, it's no more sensitive to such bumps than an uninjured leg. See more »
Voice on radio:
Men, are you over 40? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired and rundown? Do you have that listless feeling...
[the camera pans around the courtyard; cut to later in the day]
For getting rid of that cast!
Who said I was getting rid of it?
This is Wednesday; seven weeks from the day you broke your leg. Yes or no?
Gunnison, how did you ever get to be such a big editor with such a small memory?
[...] See more »
In addition to the aforementioned "dream sequences", in 1986 Universal also padded the running time by slowing down the action during the main titles. The shades rolled-up so slowly that there was time to play the main title music twice. See more »
One of Hitchcock's greatest masterpieces, "Rear Window" is a deep and entertaining classic with many strengths, and a little bit of everything. A fine suspense story is combined with romantic tension in the main plot, and there are numerous sub-plots, some humorous and some moving, all with many psychological overtones. The main characters are wonderfully portrayed and full of life. The apparently simple setting in an apartment complex is developed into a world filled with intriguing and sometimes unsettling possibilities, and this apparently average neighborhood comes to life with a wealth of lavish visual detail and interesting minor characters. It is the kind of film-making that (like many of Hitchcock's greatest movies) is very flattering to the viewer. The director assumes that his audience will pay close enough attention to appreciate the many subtleties with which he has filled the movie. It rewards both careful attention and repeated viewings, since there is much more here than merely a suspense plot, as good as that story is in itself.
For the first 30 minutes or so, we simply get to know the characters. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his best performances as a photographer recuperating from an injury, forced to spend several weeks staring out his apartment window at the minor dramas in the lives of his neighbors. Grace Kelly is ideal in the role of his perfect girlfriend, who can never find a way to break down Stewart's reserve. The study of their relationship would have made a good movie by itself. Almost every action and every word between them is filled with meaning, and what they see in the lives of others is an interesting reflection of the tensions and possibilities in their own present and future. Thelma Ritter is wonderful as a colorful, no-nonsense nurse who constantly sheds some light - sometimes unwanted - on what is happening between them. The action and suspense that occur later serves in large part as a catalyst that resolves some of the important issues between the two.
After we get to know the characters and their world, things start to happen, as Stewart becomes engrossed in some of the things he has seen. The ethical and moral concerns of meddling in others' affairs become intertwined with more urgent questions about what may have happened in those other apartments, and from then on the tension builds steadily. It leads up to a riveting climactic sequence filled with suspense, and made even more meaningful by our awareness of its deeper significance to the main characters.
There is much more that could be said, but you should see this for yourself. It is a classic that will be enjoyed not only by thriller fans, but by anyone who appreciates carefully crafted movies with a lot of depth.
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