Sunday, August 6, 2017

"We think Thorwald did it"


I watched the restored Rear Window again last night for the first time in several years. Amazon provides the film in several formats. I prefer the Blu-ray because of the excellent supplements including interviews with Hitchcock himself. There are also interviews with John Michael Hayes who wrote the script for Rear Window and several other Hitchcock films and with Hitchcock's assistant director — interesting to me for what they knew about the man and how he worked. There are good discussions about how Hitchcock used montage and sound. All good stuff if you enjoy his films.

The cast is perfect. The principles:
James Stewart        L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter Stella
Raymond Burr Lars Thorwald
From the 1954 Variety review:
.... Stewart portrays a news photographer confined to his apartment with a broken leg. He passes the long hours by playing peeping-tom on the people who live in the other apartments overlooking the courtyard. It’s a hot, humid summer so shades are rarely drawn to block his view of intimate goings-on. In one of the apartments occupied by Raymond Burr and his invalid, shrewish wife Stewart observes things that lead him to believe Burr has murdered and dismembered the wife.

From then on suspense tightens as Stewart tries to convince Wendell Corey, a policeman buddy, his suspicions are correct. Already sold on the idea are Miss Kelly, Stewart’s girl, and Thelma Ritter, the insurance nurse who comes daily to tend his needs. With their help, Stewart eventually is able to prove his point, and almost gets himself killed doing it. Adding to the grip the melodrama has on the audience is the fact that virtually every scene is one that could only be viewed from Stewart’s wheelchair....
There is very little actual violence portrayed in the film — murder and dismemberment are speculated upon but not shown. Nevertheless tension builds.