Rear Window (1954) - A Club Discussion

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I will write something in a couple days Mofo. Got a kid under the weather and it's been a long week. Wanted to get thread up in case some of you were waiting on it.

I love Hitchcock films, but Rear Window is easily my number 1 from him. Look forward to yet another watch!


This is more quick thoughts than a proper review, but I'd rather want something "out there" than none so I'm properly a part of this delightful discussion thread. I'm pretty sure this is only my second watch, but I'm not sure. Anyways, I walked away last time hailing this as a total masterpiece and gave it a full house. This time I'm not as generous...

Now, first off, let's go around to the rear first... the last act is great. Classic Hitchcock, for all the good and bad. It's tense, terrifying, exciting and well directed, edited and put together. If there are flaws to find here it's not unlike any other flaws you might find in his other films and Hitch is one of my all time favorites, so I'm not one to be bothered one bit. As for everything that comes before it though, unforturnately, the pace and length through most of the movie is definitely flawed, though far from fatally so. Most people would probably go on about how it is perfectly paced and balanced and slowly builds its setting, characters and story, in which there is no mistake or mishap that is not meant to be and every beat is spot on in stucture and placement, until we reach the ultimate climax. But for me, the pacing is a little off and a little slow and the information we get is not perfectly put forward, build or structured. The inventive setting is both its greatest strength and weakness - yet it shouldn't directly hinter the movie from still being tense, tight and carefully constructed to perfectionism throughout. Using only one setting shouldn't be a problem; something I recall Dial M for Murder proved really well, despite a few selected scenes outside of the apartment.

But as I said, the movie is a little wobbly and sometimes weirdly put together, for example with fade outs happening here and there, where not nearly every one feeling natural or needed. Together with how the plot is put together, it makes the movie feel slightly jumbled on the inside, even though the rest of the movie is really well made which makes every mishap be quickly forgotten about. The whole experimental execution of this one-set location is almost executed too perfectly as well, since all the other apartments constantly gives us something interesting to watch and think about, which makes the viewer curious and/or invested, as they should, and this sometimes holds back the actual main plot of the possible murder from feeling front and center and truly confrontive to the audience. It's also "just another window" for a long time and never truly grabs you until late in the movie. Of course, we are supposed to feel and view everything from Stewart's point of view and line of thought, and to him, this IS just another window until stuff starts happening and there is no reason to point fingers until you got something. That said, he does begin to wonder quite early on, yet I never felt as obsessed and on the edge of my chair, as Stewart's character seemed to be; but I rolled with him well enough. Get it? Uh, anyways...

The movie is generally well written, but despite some of the dialogue feeling like some pretty good extended character development, a lot of it feels unneccessary to the story and at least makes you think this movie didn't need go be almost two hours long. Anyways, I don't want to sound like I dislike the movie, because I don't. Not at all. It's enjoyable and fun and holds a lot of classic elements, while feeling like something new, different and daring as well, which is also a classic Hitch thing to do - always push the boundaries of cinema... but when pushing the boundaries actually means putting up boundaries it does become a tough task to perfect. It's technically well done, its got good acting, it's mostly fascinating while never feeling completely absorbing to me and it does have a great finale to pull everything up that nextra notch. I love the film, but it's not my favorite Hitchcock... and until I rewatch Dial M for Murder to be sure where I stand, Vertigo is probably my favorite for now, of the ones I have watched twice or more at least.

It's a great film. I like how you see a wide environment but 98% of it is seen from a small little window. The only thing that annoyed me was at the end when everyone's running out of their apartments. You can see that it was obviously sped up in post and it looks really cheesy. Also I don't care you any of you say, Rope is my favourite Hitchcock movie!

Rear Window

This is definitely my favorite Hitchcock. I am pretty sure I love it for all the reasons Movie Med thinks it has cracks. I love the intimacy of it and the time it spends with the characters. I have said when talking about other Hitch film that he is the king of set-up. This film is like an hour and a half of set-up and I love every minute of it. I love how we see so much of the irrelevant windows. Ms. Lonely Hearts and Ms. Torso are as much a part of this film as Thorwald. Plot is secondary to them here and I think the movie is better for it. In fact I feel so strongly about it that I think the movie would be a bit better thematically if the ending went the other way. It's a small point of contention but I think it could have worked well.

All the characters are great. I love Stella and Doyle and the small time we spend with them. Of course the scenes between Jeff and Lisa are the best and what makes this film one of the greats. I know I am 41 and not supposed to have school boy crushes but I am quite certain I am in love with Grace Kelly. It's not my fault, she is spectacular. An easy

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I know I am 41 and not supposed to have school boy crushes but I am quite certain I am in love with Grace Kelly. It's not my fault, she is spectacular.
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In fact I feel so strongly about it that I think the movie would be a bit better thematically if the ending went the other way. It's a small point of contention but I think it could have worked well.
The other way as in: there wasn't really a murder?
Cobpyth's Movie Log ~ 2019

I would have preferred there not be a murder too. Can't really say why though, i'll see if i still think that after i've rewatched it and if so i'll try and explain it.

28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
Of the few Hitchcock films I've seen, this one is my favourite (so far).

Great suspense, masterful framing, gorgeous set design, a beautiful Grace Kelly and an engaging murder mystery plot. All are key elements for a successful film. They did a semi-remake with Disturbia, starring Shia Labeouf, yet that one is limited and dated by the modern technology they use. The kid in that film is under house arrest and must wear an ankle monitor. In a few years, people might question what the hell is attached to his ankle.

A broken leg, is a broken leg. You're not going anywhere.

It also adds to the suspense and sense of dread when the protagonist can't really defend himself. Labeouf can run around the house and hide, Stewart cannot.

I still find the blinding of the camera flash to be a bit comical and wish Hitchcock didn't leave the apartment for that one shot, but this is an otherwise masterfully crafted film.
"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews

Yeah, what do you think?
It's an interesting proposal, but I would probably keep the murder in. It gives the film a certain extra weight and it's also a necessary plot point in order to help develop the relationship between Grace Kelly and James Stewart, which is perhaps the most interesting substantive aspect of the film during rewatches.
I do sympathize with your assessment that the allround atmosphere that gets created simply through the observation of the environment is one of the film's greatest and most durable strengths. I'm comfortable with it being a very rich background to this murder story, though. It doesn't need to be the absolute essence of the whole film for me.

I'd also recommend you all to listen to the Hitchcock/Truffaut interview about this film. Apart from perhaps the discussion about Vertigo, it's probably the best one they did.

@TheUsualSuspect I agree about the bulb scene being pretty silly. Remonds me a bit of the dream sequence of Vertigo.

I love Rear Window, and I'm also one of the few who really like Disturbia too.

A system of cells interlinked
Fantastic film, with plenty of implications in regards to voyeurism, cinema, and entertainment. One of Hitchcock's best, and the cast is perfect. Love Rear Window.

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