Genre Grandeur – Rear Window (1954)

For the next installment of Genre Grandeur, I bring you a review from JJames.  His site is always enjoyable to read and he really has very interesting insight into all movies he watches.  I really enjoy discussing movie with him whenever possible.  If you don’t already follow his site, I strongly urge you to do so.

Now, without further ado, Heeerrrreee’ssss  JJames with his review of Hitchcock’s Rear Window:

Rear Window Poster

  • One of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest achievements, Rear Window is almost flawless.
  • Not least because Hitchcock’s technique intensifies tension. By shooting almost every scene from Jeff’s (James Stewart) rear window point of view, the director makes us feel the protagonist’s isolation, impotence and fantasy.
  • The movie’s score does the same. Filled with ample repetitiveness and plenty of heart-pounding moments, the music is anxiety inducing.
  • So are the performances, especially Stewart’s. Immobility only helps the actor hit the proper notes. Because of Stewart’s facial expressions, slight gestures and general body language, we feel Jeff’s obsession.
  • Therein is why we never judge his voyeurism. The director and actor effectively turn us into watchers, as well. We too want the newly-weds to open their shades, Miss Lonely Hearts to find some happiness, the musician to finish his masterpiece, and so on.
  • It is amazing filmmaking, all the more so because Hitchcock eventually deconstructs our attachment to Jeff. When Doyle (Wendall Corey) convinces that the neighborhood is crime-less, we are as disappointed as the protagonist and his girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly).
  • What does that say about us? About them?
  • Such questions are why Rear Window resonates thematically. And proves as thrilling as it does.
  • The finale helps in that regard. Yes it adds certainty, but it doesn’t undermine the rest of the picture, an impressive feat, to say the least. For much of its running time, Rear Window works because questions go unanswered, because the film is ambiguous. Given that, eventual factual reveals risk reducing tension.
  • Here they never do. They only increase it.
  • So as not to spoil anything, I will not expound the point; I will only suggest it is Rear Window’s greatest achievement.
  • Which is amplified by the virtual meaninglessness of the film’s minor flaws. Characters arrive in Jeff’s neighborhood a little too quickly, fudging timelines in ways that aren’t entirely believable.
  • Moreover, Lisa, who lacks characterization outside of supporting Jeff, is not well developed.
  • Something that might be a bigger issue if Grace Kelly’s performance were not so enchanting. But Kelly adds nuance and depth to a character that has little of either.
  • And so even Lisa actually becomes a strength.
  • Rear Window is a masterfully suspenseful psychological thriller that earns and retains the viewer’s investment. It might be Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie.
  • Final Assessment: Oscar Worthy

Thanks again to JJames for his excellent review!

If anyone else is still interested in sending me their review of their favorite Thriller, email it to me at before 25 March 2014

28 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – Rear Window (1954)

  1. Thanks for letting me participate! It was fun (I have seen this movie several times before – even briefly considered it for the Top Ten Zoe published, but it’s always fun to have an excuse to watch an old favorite).


  2. Pingback: Revisiting Yesteryear | jjames reviews

  3. Pingback: Genre Grandeur March Update | MovieRob

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