Whenever I'm asked the question, "if you could only take 5 movies on a deserted island what would they be?" Inevitably, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window in always on my list. Every time it is on television I will always watch it, no matter how many times I've already seen it.
When I saw that Rear Window was going to be part of the CAPA Summer Movie Series I was thrilled. I have never seen it on the big screen and couldn't wait for the opportunity.
L.B. Jefferies, a freelance photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is confined in his apartment with a broken leg and telephoto lens. He begins to spy on his neighbors and after a series of suspicious events he believes that a man across the courtyard (Raymond Burr) may have murdered his wife. Jeff convinces his high society fashion consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont, portrayed fabulously by Grace Kelly, and his visiting nurse Stella, played by the funny Thelma Ritter, to help him in his investigation. Rear Window is a witty and macabre tale of voyeurism and murder.
"To maintain an authentic feel, Hitchcock created a self-contained set with livable, furnished apartments, making it the largest indoor set at Paramount. One actress, Georgine Darcy ("Miss Torso"), did actually treat the apartment as a home during the shoot, relaxing on-set between takes.
As claustrophobic as the movie may seem, the short story by Cornell Woolrich, on which the film is based, was even more so. There was no love story, and the only neighbors Jefferies spied on were the alleged murderer and victim. The actual mystery was taken from two accounts of men who were convicted of murdering and dismembering their wives.
Both Grace Kelly and James Stewart already had a working relationship with Hitchcock. Kelly was the female lead in Dial M for Murder (1954), and she would also star in To Catch a Thief (1955). It was while filming To Catch a Thief in the French Riviera that Kelly had her first roundabout introduction to her future husband, the Prince of Monaco, when she asked about his gardens during a break in filming (she wold meet him in person a year later at the Cannes Film Festival). She wanted to work with Hitchcock - and return to acting - again in 1964's Marnie, but she didn't in order to maintain a proper image for a princess, and the part went to Tippi Hedren. Stewart was in Rope (1948), and worked with Hitchcock again in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958). He was also slated for the lead in North by Northwest, but Hitchcock replaced him with Cary Grant after Vertigo performed poorly at the box office. They never worked together again.
As always, Hitchcock ha a cameo - watch for him in the songwriter's apartment."
Next up in the CAPA Summer Movie Series is It Happened One Night. Movie series ticket strips are on sale now through August 9. Treat yourself to summer's best bargain! Purchase a strip of 10 tickets for $25 and save $1.50 per ticket off day-of-show prices. Strip tickets are good for any film in any combination.