I've always been a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Vertigo is probably the ultimate expression of his recurring themes of mistaken identity and the ultimate unattainable female. The Birds and Psycho are both terrific horror movies, depicting monsters from without and within. But Rear Window is not only a great artistic achievement, but it is also one of his most entertaining films.
|Thelma Ritter, Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart look out the window, "I'm not much on rear window ethics."|
The blatant voyeurism in Rear Window is the perfect metaphor for what it is to go to the movies. Hitchcock's hero, Jimmy Stewart, plays L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries, a photographer who specializes in far-flung travel and exciting assignments — the more remote and dangerous the better. But after deciding to shoot a high-speed auto race from within the track (and being hit by a race car and sidelined with a broken leg), the itinerant photographer is stuck, going stir crazy in his New York City one-bedroom apartment, during a long hot summer with nothing to do. He begins passing his time by spying on his neighbors for entertainment, through the zoom lens on his camera.
His visiting nurse Stella, played by Thelma Ritter, tells Jeff, "We've become a race of Peeping Toms." She is initially bothered by Jeff's curiosity, but luckily for the audience her own desire to know what's happening across Jeff's courtyard matches ours. She joins Jeff in watching the neighbors and even gives them nicknames, like "Miss Torso" and "Miss Lonelyhearts". Tuned in regularly to everyone's daily routines, Jeff begins to notice that one of the couples, a middle-aged husband and his bedridden wife, may be acting in a peculiar manner. "I've seen bickering and family quarrels and mysterious trips at night, and knives and saws and ropes, and now since last evening, not a sign of the wife. How do you explain that?"
|Miss Lonelyhearts is an unhappy single woman who Jeff watches go on unsuccessful dates|