Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954), directed by Alfred Hitchcock.


New York State sentence for a Peeping Tom is six months in the workhouse. And they got no windows in the workhouse. You know, in the old days they used to put out your eyes with a red-hot poker.

-- Stella

Some familiar bits of life rarely make it into the movies. Did you ever sit on a porch or next to an open window all night long and just listen to the neighborhood as the hours pass? We get that in Rear Window. It's the night of the murder, but set that aside.

Just as I don't feel obligated to keep top-10 or "best" or "worst" lists, I don't have to have a favorite Hitchcock picture. Vertigo (1958) is spookier and more intricate, but Rear Window is endlessly rewatchable Fun. I never stop marveling over its meticulous construction and rich layers.

We know that all the characters of the courtyard are in some way alternates for Jeff and Lisa, particularly Miss Lonelyhearts and Miss Torso, the Songwriter, the Newlyweds and the Thorwalds. We also understand that:

That last part has intriguing implications. We don't mind believing that books and movies play out in our psyches with all their subconscious symbols and influences, but what about substantial Reality? Doesn't the same mechanism project and process the real world on that interior screen? I suppose everyone has been involved in arguments where "what you heard" was not "what I said". It might be the same for all our sensory experiences.

Miscellaneous notes after a first viewing of the Blu-ray:

Franz Waxman score, Edith Head costumes.

Available on Blu-ray with a light but informative commentary track, mostly on the visual and sound design.