movie film review | chris tookey

Rear Window

Universal Studios - all rights reserved
  Rear Window Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
9.28 /10
James Stewart , Grace Kelly , Raymond Burr
Full Cast >

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: John Michael Hayes from Cornell Woolrich's novel

Released: 1954
Origin: US
Colour: BW
Length: 112

A photographer (James Stewart, pictured left) confined to a wheelchair because of a broken leg witnesses what he thinks may be a murder in an apartment opposite, and persuades his girl-friend (Grace Kelly, pictured right) to help him investigate.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

Bookmark and Share

Most of Hitchcock's masterpieces have divided the critics, but this one is admired by virtually everyone. It's one of the most skilful and exciting thrillers ever made, with a heart-stopping climax. The ingenuity of it lies in the way we witness almost every event through the hero's eyes, and piece the evidence together as he does. This places us firmly inside the photographer's head, and yet isn't there something a shade voyeuristic, prurient, even sick, about the way he spies on those around him...?

Some critics, notably those coming from a Roman Catholic standpoint, such as Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, have interpreted Rear Window as an outright condemnation of the leading character, but that is only part of the truth. His unhealthy curiosity does turn out to be justified - if dangerous. Hitchcock seems to be playing with our guilty enjoyment of his voyeurism, not to mention our own as cinemagoers; as usual, he implies that there is good and bad in all of us.

Other assets include an excellent supporting cast. Grace Kelly gives probably her best - and her sexiest - performance as a glamorous society girl who reveals (like most of the characters in the film) surprising depths to her personality. The subtext of the film movie in the way that Stewart initially (if subconsciously) feels that she is invading his space, but then finds himself falling in love with her. Robert Burks's cinematography and Loren L. Ryder's sound design were rightly Oscar-nominated, but this is above all a masterly exercise in directorial style.

Key to Symbols