"Rear Window" Is Released
Rear Window is a 1954 suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder", and starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey and Raymond Burr. The film is considered by many film-goers, critics, and scholars to be one of Hitchcock's best and most thrilling pictures.
Rear Window, which received four Academy Award nominations, was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1997. It was ranked #48 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition).
Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbors, he assigns them such roles and character names as "Miss Torso" (Georgine Darcy), a professional dancer with a healthy social life or "Miss Lonelyhearts" (Judith Evelyn), a middle-aged woman who entertains nonexistent gentlemen callers. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife's incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries' musings just might happen to be the truth. One of Alfred Hitchcock's very best efforts, Rear Window is a crackling suspense film that also ranks with Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) as one of the movies' most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. As in most Hitchcock films, the protagonist is a seemingly ordinary man who gets himself in trouble for his secret desires. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide