Review: Hitchcock: The Real Master - Rear Window @ Chapter
If you have ever wanted to see James Stewart in a wheelchair, then you must watch this film. Sounds weird I know. But by just sitting down with his leg in a cast, he delivers one of his best performances of his career.
He plays L. B. Jefferies, or Jeff for short, a war photographer who was caught in the firing line and now resides in his apartment, recovering from a broken leg. He's fond of watching his neighbours' activities since they are on full display in a heat wave, with all their blinds and curtains open. His love interest Lisa Carol Fremont, played by Grace Kelly worries about him and wonders if they could carry on a relationship. But he thinks one of his neighbours has murdered the neighbour's wife. Can he prove it? Will anybody listen?
With this minute space, Hitchcock gives us plenty of point of view shots, be these from Jeff's camera or binoculars or just what Jeff is seeing on the other side of the block. The set here was extremely ambitious. An entire apartment block built just for the film. I assumed it was a real block in New York.
Some may see this film as boring. No. You must not think that. Hitchcock was the master of suspense. It's all for a reason to drag it on. You must be patient. But it's still hard to resist finding humour in these old films when it is not intended to be funny. The best example here is near the end of the film [Spoiler Alert!] when Jeff is dangled out of his window and falls out, I find myself in a laughing fit. I wasn't the only one who found this amassing. My plus one and a few other audience members also laughed. But when seeing it again on YouTube is was still funnier, but less so. After all Hitchcock has some great falling scenes in his films. This is not one of them...
One of the other characters Jeff observes is a lady he calls Miss Lonelyhearts. [Spoiler Alert!] She is seen near the end taking a large amount of pills in an attempt to kill herself. I had assumed that the story would end with the neighbour not actually killing his wife and with all the time spent on that, the lady dies of a drug overdose. She could have been saved had they not focused on other people. Well, that's not the ending but what went through my mind near the end.
Let's be fair, we all have a good nose sometimes. Who doesn't? It's human nature. But being in a wheelchair would take this into overload. But he still could have done some of his photography. Goes to so how inept they were back them to accommodate people in wheelchairs. His wheelchair got into his flat and therefore it can come out of the flat. Is he a hero? Or a man with too much time on his hands? And is obsession ever a good thing?
If you haven't seen a Hitchcock film before, start with Rear Window. It may just surprise you.
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