Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rear Window (1954)

One of Hitch's greatest talents was in creating a world unique to his storytelling and visual style. In Rear Window these talents really are to the fore, using  the teeming tenements of New York as his playground, embellishing it with great colour (both socially and cinematically) and detail.

An essay in big city loneliness and morbid curiosity, Rear Window has much to say about Hitch's gleeful reliance on voyeurism both of his audience at the cinema and of the outside world in general, tapping into how we perhaps live(d) via witty symbolism and analogy. I wonder if such a film, if made today, could grab an audiences attention and capture something of urban life now given that as a society we seem to be living a more insular and detached life, reliant on the screens of our laptops and PC's than the window to the streets outside. 

A film about 'spectacle', Rear Window gives us just that and how, thanks to the great aforementioned symbolism and the equally subtle analogies that can be made between Stewart and Kelly's characters, or more specifically, their relationship, and those they are peeping on (as cited in Tania Modleski's excellent book 'The Women Who Knew Too Much'). It goes without saying that Stewart and Kelly are at the top of their game and they're ably provided with some comedic support from Thelma Ritter, adding some of Hitch's typically ghoulish delight to the proceedings. 

All in all, this remains one of Hitchcock's finest.

- I hate that he killed the dog though :(

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