Well, here we are; the last Hitchcock film on the list for me to review. Granted, I’ve seen this one before, but still; it’s a bit sad to say goodbye to the master of suspense. On the other hand, part of me is glad as well; too much of one director gets too samey (I’m running into that problem with Bergman), so to finish off a director on the list is gratifying in a sense. Anyway, here we are, with Rear Window, one of Hitch’s finest. James Stewart stars as J.B. Jeffries, a photographer stuck in his apartment with a broken leg reduced to spying on his neighbors for entertainment, even if what he sees isn’t intended to be spied upon.
The way Hitch makes this work so well is by creating and populating a universe with a sense of reality, of the many things that would normally transpire in an apartment block such as this. We are privy to everything Jeffries sees and experiences, which helps us to place ourselves in his shoes and become the character, wondering about the neighbors as Jeffries wonders, and figuring things out as he figures them. The action escalates at a very natural pace, keeping us involved and keeping the intensity ever climbing, as more and more paranoia is piled on, until finally, in fine Hitchcock fashion, everything comes to a boil. Jimmy Stewart essentially plays Jimmy Stewart in this, like he does in most of his pictures, but he spends most of the time staring out the window, leaving us to think for ourselves about what he sees, which makes for an effective self-inserting character.
This works at just about every level, from the suspense to the mystery, and most importantly, it involves the viewer to a level few movies ever really go to; not that it’s their fault, but Rear Window’s material just makes it a natural for doing so. Well, with that, I bid adieu to Hitchcock, at least as far as the 1001 list is concerned. It just happened that I saved one of the best for last, as well as one of my personal favorites, so if you haven’t seen Rear Window, or want an introduction to Hitchcock at his very finest, this is as good a place as any to start.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10