Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1950s Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window (1954)

James Stewart stars as “Jeff” Jeffries, a news photographer with a broken leg who is confined to a wheelchair in his Greenwich Village apartment.

He passes the time by spying on his neighbours across the backyard, sometimes through his telephoto lens. Each window offers a glimpse into another life and in effect tells another story.

FILE10787In one apartment a composer hunches over his piano, struggling with his latest work. In another, a dancer practices compulsively.

One apartment houses a lonely woman, unlucky in love, and yet another is home to an amorous newlywed couple.

A man in one of the apartments (Raymond Burr) is behaving oddly, and the photographer becomes convinced the man has murdered his wife. At first Jeff’s fiancée, Lisa (a surprisingly carnal Grace Kelly in one of her final roles before retiring) is sceptical but evidence begins to pile up.

The action is confined entirely to Jeff’s apartment and as a result, the audience identifies fully with the trapped photographer. Lisa is a daily visitor to the apartment and she becomes Jeff’s legs when he sends her to investigate his suspicions.

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This masterpiece from director Alfred Hitchcock began as a technical stunt: Hitchcock wondered if he could make a film on just a single set and from just one vantage point.

For maximum freedom in filming, Hitchcock constructed an intricate replica of a crowded and constantly bustling New York tenement building and its equally busy courtyard on a Paramount soundstage.

The structure was so huge that they had to dig through to the basement. It contained 31 separate apartments, including eight fully furnished rooms with running water and electricity.

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Based on the Cornell Woolrich short story It Had To Be Murder, this excellent film co-stars Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey.

Watching Rear Window is like watching a living, breathing ecosystem, with the added thrill of a murder mystery thrown in for good measure.

LB “Jeff” Jeffries
James Stewart
Lisa Carol Fremont
Grace Kelly
Detective Thomas J Doyle
Wendell Corey
Stella
Thelma Ritter
Lars Thorwald
Raymond Burr
Miss Lonely Hearts
Judith Evelyn
Music Man
Ross Bagdasarian
Miss Torso
Georgine Darcy
Fire escape woman
Sara Berner
Fire escape man
Frank Cady
Miss Hearing Aid
Jesslyn Fax

Director
Alfred Hitchcock

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