Movie Club: Rear Window

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Aug 25, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're going with a classic that has been parodied in so many places, from The Simpsons to Due South, it might be interesting to see the original, Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1954 film Rear Window

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Suspense Masterpiece!

    It is impossible to pick Hitchcock's most iconic movie, but Rear Window is definitely among the top five.
    Such a brilliant simple story of someone witnessing their neighbour commit a murder.
    James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr are all fantastic in their roles.
    The tension in the scene of Jeff watching Lisa in Lars' apartment is brilliant and probably my favourite scene.

    I must admit I seen the Simpsons parody episode several years before I seen the movie. When I was watching it my Mum mentioned how it was like The Rear Window and pointed out the James Stewart character, who even calls on someone called Grace. A reference I didn't get at the time.

    Which brings me to my only slight criticism of the film. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it's just my personal taste.
    I would have preferred a more suburban neighbourhood setting as opposed to the apartment complex.
    However I will admit cinematography wise the apartment setting probably works better for showing the other characters the final confrontation with Lars and Jeff.
    Although I still think it could have worked just as good in a normal suburban neighbourhood setting.
    As for the neighbourhood setting, a similar story was done in the 80's comedy "The 'Burbs" which was excellent and one we will be covering in Movie Club soon.

    I love this movie. It is maybe my favourite Hitchcock movie.
    LiamABC likes this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    This is one of the most parodied films in cinema history.

    It's also one of the best. It's certainly in the top handful of Alfred Hitchcock's finest, and his finest are among the finest of all time.

    Perhaps the most important detail in this film is the fact that everything is shot from the view of James Stewart's character. All the shots of outside the apartment are from the angle of his eponymous rear window. By filming it this way, Hitchcock made us inhabit the world of L. B. Jeffries. We saw it all through his eyes. They had originally planned to show the newspaper editor in his office at the start of the movie calling Jeffries, but it was decided against it as it would have meant building a whole extra set just for one scene.

    This films was based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich aka William Irish - I can never remember which is the pseudonym and which is the real name, and some sources differ as to which is which . . . in any case, the short story is called "It Must Have Been Murder" and is basically only about the characters played by James Stewart and Raymond Burr. I haven't read it so I don't know if they have the same names as they do here (Jeffries and Thorwald).

    All the other characters were created to expand the story to feature length. And it worked spectacularly. Grace Kelly - possibly the most beautiful woman ever to have walked the face of the earth - is pitch perfect as Lisa, a character who starts off as dismissive but gets drawn into it by her own curiosity, and ultimately becomes even more convinced than Jeffries, based on the jewellery. Thelma Ritter as Stella the nurse is hugely entertaining, and if this film had been made in the 80s, that part could have been tailor-made for Rhea Perlman - Carla from Cheers. Actually Ted Danson and Shelley Long could have done a good job as Jeffries and Lisa come to think of it, and add in Kelsey Grammer to play Lt Doyle, Wendell Corey's character and you've got a full house! As for who from Cheers could play Thorwald, maybe Keene Curtis (John Alan Hill, the grumpy owner of the restaurant upstairs in the later seasons). But I digress . . . Wendell Corey as Lt Doyle keeps it believable. His character has to walk a fine line, and provide the scepticism about Jeffries' theories without being nasty. And he isn't, he's just doing his job. You get the feeling he's only putting up with half of it because they're old friends. Raymond Burr as Thorwald also has a tough part to play, as most of his acting is done long-distance, apart from the climax at the end.

    Speaking of the climax to this movie, this is where Hitchcock's genius really shone through. At the very start the movie, we see that Jeffries' leg is broken. At first, that broken leg is just a plot device, giving him a reason to be sat in his apartment staring out of the window. But at the end, that broken leg becomes so much more significant in keeping him where he is against his will . . .

    This whole film is full of great moments. The scream and the sound of broken glass that tell us that someone has just been killed. We know instinctively. Hitchcock had done something similar at the start of his first colour film "Rope". He was great at conveying things quickly. Grace Kelly's marital infidelity at the start of her first film with him, Dial M For Murder, is another good example of that. Then the scene with the dead dog, which reignites Jeffries' convictions that Thorwald has been up to no good. The scene where Lisa breaks into Thorwald's apartment is good too - she does it entirely off her own bat, and Jeffries is having kittens over her safety. The shot of her waggling the wedding ring for his benefit is beautifully done, and Thorwald seeing it too, he knows something is terribly amiss. And of course that silent phone call that sets up the climax - we know what's coming, and so does Jeffries, and he's powerless to escape it . . .

    I can't say enough in praise of this film. It's one of the finest examples of Hitchcock's genius there is. If you like Hitchcock, you'll love this.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The more I think about the confrontation with Thorwald at the end I really think Jeff's actions were a tad stupid.
    He should have kept Stella there for back up to out number Thorwald and he should have armed himself with a better weapon than the flash bulb of his camera.
    Literally anything could have been used as a more effective weapon to fend off an attacker. A kitchen knife, a rolling pin, a saucepan, a broom, a lamp or even something heavy in a Lisa's handbag would have been better and less risky than using the camera's flash.
    Granted the flash is less violent but he should have had something else as a back up.
    Like in Misery, Paul Sheldon prepared himself with a plan and weapons.
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Jeffries didn't know Thorwald was going to come over. In Misery Sheldon had time to think of a plan. And he had a bit more freedom of movement as his leg wasn't in a plaster cast.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Jeffries knew Thorwald seen him when he noticed Lisa signalling out the window.
    For someone that was in the military he should have know what Luisa did cause Thorwald to come over a confrontation.
    More to the point Thorwald had already committed two murders so he should have been prepared for a violent confrontation.

    In Misery Paul's injuries were a lot worse than Jeffries. Jeff only had a broken leg. Paul had two broken legs, broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder from the crash. As for the final confrontation in Misery he didn't have that long to plan that but I will admit he had more time than Jeff to think of a plan.

    Jeff really should have armed himself with a back up weapon rather than just the flash bulb of his camera.
  7. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Jeffries' injuries may not have been as extensive but he was immobilised by that plaster cast.

    As for his only using the flash bulb, they talk about that in the bonus features on the DVD.

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