Rear Window

Rear Window (1954) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Alfred Hitchcock. James StewartGrace KellyWendell Corey , Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn

When people talk about perfect films this is the one that comes to mind to me, over and over again. It’s not just my favourite Hitchcock film but actually it’s up there among my favourite films ever. Where to start? There are books and books written about this film and I feel a bit stupid just sitting down here, telling everyone how great this film is. Technically of course is pure perfection: from the way it’s filmed, to the spectacular set design, to the multi-layered soundtrack (and virtually no composed music, all incidental as if heard from across the courtyard, something very usual for the time!) and obviously the powerful editing which makes the most of the juxtaposition of Jimmy Stewart’s reactions and what he’s seeing.

This is the work of a true master completely at ease with his film-making tools, putting the audience in the shoes of our heroes, adding humour, tension, sexuality, mystery to the mix as if it was the most natural thing in the world.And it’s not just Alfred Hitchcock of course. His cast here is pure gold too!

Jimmy Stewart to start with, the so-called “everyday man”, who’s impossible not to like (I guess the equivalent today could be Tom Hanks). He’s stuck on a wheelchair and yet he manages to convey all sorts of emotions from curiosity to boredom, from frustration to obsession, from love to fear…

And don’t even get me started on the most beautiful woman ever to appear on a film. Grace Kelly is the epitome of the perfect woman as far as I’m concerned: classy, beautiful, clever, fearless. I just adore her.

Thelma Ritter who plays Stella, who brings so much humour and energy to such a tiny role and makes her character unforgettable.

I love everything about this Rear Window: it’s a intriguing mystery story and it’s an exciting thriller of course, but it’s also an astute portrait of relationships, all different types of them and all played out inside those little apartments across the courtyard. And last but not least, the script (apparently Hitchcock worked on it but never got credited): I love the way the dialogue plays over the visuals, but also how sometimes through the language of film-making and though James Stewart’s reactions we learn more about the characters’ inner thoughts than we would if there were pages and pages of dialogue (or worse, voice over!).

67 years later “Rear Window” is still just as impressive just as funny, just as smart, just as exciting, just a tense. A true masterpiece like few other films are, full stop.

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