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Rear Window (1954) Re-watch

My personal favorite Hitchcock movie that's mostly set in L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies' (James Stewart) apartment. He's got a broken leg and confined to a wheelchair most of the time and gets very bored. He has a care worker, Stella, (played with great humor by Thelma Ritter) to help him work on his muscles for the duration while he heals. Visiting him frequently is his beyond-beautiful, high society girlfriend, Lisa, played by the, again, beyond-beautiful Grace Kelly. Why he's bored when he's got her is a mystery that I doubt even Hitchcock could solve.

Jefferies begins to watch his neighbors in the surrounding courthouse of the apartment complex. He uses his photographic zoom lens and binoculars when he can't see the tiny details, which become important over time. It is summer and in the 50's, even in New York City, apparently everyone left their doors unlocked and their windows open. Jeff is glad of this as it gives him a front row, or "rear window" seat to watch everyone and build his own stories around them. There's Miss Lonely Hearts, who seems to be pining her life away waiting for a lover who may never come; Miss Torso, who exercises constantly and has a stunning figure; the piano player who plays beautiful music almost as a soundtrack to all the business going on in Jeff's view; the newlywed couple, with the husband trying to take a break by leaning out the window only to have his new wife call him back to the bedroom; the middle-aged couple who sleep on their mattress out on the fire escape and let their little dog down in a rope basket to do his business.

These are just a handful of the people who live in Jeff's view, but the one who interests him the most is Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who constantly fights with his invalid wife who seemingly laughs at him and puts him down, although Jeff can't hear what they say. One night Jeff hears a scream in Thorwald's darkened apartment and his wife goes missing (to Jeff, who doesn't see her anymore). With Lisa and Stella helping him, Jeff begins his investigation into Mrs. Thorwald's disappearance. It's completely fascinating to watch the women try to track down clues as Jeff conducts from his apartment, then the three of them trading mental notes as to what could be happening. They're convinced Thorwald killed and cut up his wife's body and has been carrying it out of the apartment or shipping it out in a trunk. They don't know for sure but they're on the right track. Jeff tries to get his old war buddy, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) to help, but Doyle is less than convinced as to Thorwald's guilt.

As Hitchcock films Jeff spying on his neighbors, he makes him a voyeur, and in turn makes US the voyeurs, as we see what he sees. But Jeff isn't doing his spying for any prurient reasons---he's simply bored and lets himself become involved in his neighbors' lives. We, like Jeff, come to care what becomes of these people and if the murder will be solved. We really know it will but Hitchcock wouldn't have been the genius he was if he didn't plant some doubt in our minds. This is a masterful work from the Master of Suspense and this movie shows why the director earned that title. Absolutely recommended without reservation. A must-see and a must-own.