Anthony's Film Review
Rear Window (1954)
As usual, Alfred Hitchcock keeps the audience in suspense with masterful storytelling...
The 1954 mystery/suspense film Rear Window is not director Alfred Hitchcock's absolute best in my opinion, but it's still definitely worth seeing for its ability to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. It's an example of a film where one's fear involves the anticipation of what might happen next, not what is actually happening at the moment. That, of course, is the definition of suspense. What you don't actually see with your own eyes can be nerve-wracking, because you don't know if what is possibly hidden is, in fact, the truth. And knowing the truth, or missing it, has important implications.
James Stewart plays L.B. Jeffries, a magazine photographer who suffers from a broken leg and ends up recuperating in his apartment. Because he has a cast on his leg and is stuck in a wheelchair, there is not much to do, other than watching his neighbors through his apartment's rear window. And there are plenty of interesting people going about in their own apartments, including a lovely ballet dancer, a couple sleeping on a fire escape because it's so hot indoors, a man with a piano, a lonely middle-aged woman, and Mr. Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr) living with his wife. It's fun to observe these people, at least for a while.
You see, Jeffries notices Thorwald doing a few unusual things, like wrapping a few large sharp objects in newspaper and tying a large trunk with rope, as well as the fact that Mrs. Thorwald is no longer around. And while Jeffries was asleep the night before, the film presents the sounds of a woman screaming and glass breaking. When you put it all together, you got a possible case of murder. This is definitely a suspenseful situation, because if Jeffries had witness a murder as it actually happened, the police could believe him and the case could be closed instantly.
Instead, Jeffries finds himself at a loss trying to get police cooperation. When he shares the details of his observations with Detective Lieutenant Thomas Doyle (played by Wendell Corey), he is met with kind skepticism. Doyle presents some alternative benign explanations for what Jeffries saw. The result is that we in the audience are put in suspense. We find ourselves wondering what the truth is. Maybe Doyle is right. Or maybe Jeffries is right, especially as two other characters eventually become suspicious like him: his girlfriend Lisa Carol Fremont (played by Grace Kelly) and a nurse named Stella (played by Thelma Ritter).
The story does progress in intensity, and while it does reach a climax, the level of intensity is only mildly higher. But it's still quite entertaining to follow the main characters as they work to uncover the truth about Mr. Thorwald. Overall, I'm giving Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window an 8 out of 10 on my rating scale, for being a suspenseful, thrilling, and engaging mystery. It's definitely good enough to be a classic in the genre of thriller cinema.
For more information about Rear Window, visit the Internet Movie Database.