My Thoughts on: Rear Window (1954)

*This film is being reviewed at the request of a Patreon patron

I was initially excited to watch Rear Window, a mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Up until now the only Hitchcock films I’ve seen are Rebecca, The Birds and excerpts from Psycho so I was looking forward to seeing what this film was like. Rear Window follows a photographer (James Stewart) laid up in his apartment with a broken leg. With little else to do, he ends up observing the lives of his neighbors through their back windows. One night he becomes convinced that one of his neighbors, Mr. Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife and spends the rest of the film trying to prove it.

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With all due respect to Hitchcock, the film didn’t do much for me. I did enjoy watching Grace Kelly (as I hadn’t seen any of her films before) and James Stewart is always fun to watch but…there was something about this film that just bothered me. I think having the action confined to Jeff’s apartment (we only see what he sees) frustrated me, because I’m used to films that follow other characters around. Also, the stories of his neighbors look strange when they’re viewed through tiny windows (which look small even when Jeff is looking through binoculars or his camera lens). It reminded me a bit of watching a film within a film, particularly silent films (like when Lisa breaks into Thorwald’s apartment while Jeff watches), since you see the action but can’t really hear much of what’s being said. I’m probably just missing the point of the film, but I wanted to see more than what I was given.

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I will say I did like the confrontation between Jeff and Thorwald, when Jeff gets the idea to blind the villain with his flash bulbs to buy some time. It’s a highly suspenseful scene because you’re anxiously wondering if Jeff can get the next bulb ready before Thorwald completely recovers. I was also fascinated to learn that the piano player was Rogdom Bagdasarian, better known as the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks. And while I was glad to check another Hitchcock film off my “to watch” list, I don’t think I’ll be watching it again any time soon.

What do you think about Rear Window? Let me know your thoughts on this film in the comments below and have a great day!

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6 thoughts on “My Thoughts on: Rear Window (1954)

  1. Carl Wonders

    The point of the film IS that you only see what Jeff sees as a way of emphasizing his immobility. If you could have followed Grace Kelly into Thorwald’s apartment, I don’t think it would have worked.

    Also, the simple fact that the apartment complex was one big set well never not be impressive to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Benjamin Fastnedge

    Rear Window is actually my favourite Hitchcock and an absolute masterpiece, as we get to experience James Stewart’s frustration at being confined to his room and see things as he sees them. The movie is beautifully staged, the slinky Grace Kelly on fine form and the dialogue as sharp as you like.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Film Music Central Post author

      I’ll probably have to rewatch it once the stress of grad school is over, I’m all but certain that colored my viewing of the film (it also didn’t help I just watched First Man again last night and still had it on the brain)

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  3. christinawehner

    I’m going to watch this film again soon, too! I actually was quite lukewarm about the film when I first saw it, too. It’s been growing on me, though. I think his watching people through their windows is supposed to make us a bit uncomfortable and show us how limited a way it is to see people.

    I agree about what you said about watching a film within a film! It’s almost like the movie is about watching movies, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

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