Happy MLK Day, everybody! You all enjoying your day off and reflecting on the importance of freedom and equality and whatnot? I sure hope so. Really, I should’ve planned to do some kind of inspirational post for today, but…well…I ended up reviewing another film for my Resolutions series instead. Sigh. Not exactly inspirational, but it is what it is. Haha. Anyway, my last film resolution (2001: A Space Odyssey) didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped, so I decided to try my luck with Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window this time around since my experience with Hitchcock so far has been very positive (just see here, here, or here). Spoiler alert: I liked this one, too! Here are my thoughts:
Rear Window (1954)
Synopsis: “A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.” –www.imdb.com
What I liked:
- Jimmy Stewart. I’ve loved this man in everything I’ve seen him in, and this film is no exception. Admittedly, L.B. Jeffries a.k.a. “Jeff” isn’t my favorite Stewart character (that will always be George from It’s a Wonderful Life), but he’s got that irresistible Stewart charm—even with some of his less redeeming qualities, which we shall discuss later…
- Grace Kelly. You know, it’s kind of shameful how little I’ve seen of Kelly. I think this and High Noon are officially the only two films I’ve ever seen her in. But she’s great here—just the kind of smart, positive, strong-willed woman Jeff needs to balance out his own stubborn grumpiness. Honestly, I haven’t seen a ton of Hitchcock films (though I’m now up to five!), but I’d say she falls among my favorite Hitchcock ladies.
- The constant tension. As soon as Jeff realizes something fishy is going on, you can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Hitchcock brings out this feeling pretty masterfully.
- Despite being set in one room, it’s thoroughly engaging. Again, my compliments to Mr. Hitchcock. Rear Window may not be an action-packed affair, but the dialogue and the sequence of events outside the window still manage to keep you hooked. It’s a lot of fun.
- It leaves you guessing. In an era of so many generic, predictable thrillers, it’s nice to go back to a classic and see how things should be done. I had theories about how things would go down largely because of seeing Disturbia (which begs, borrows, and steals a lot from this), but I was never totally sure. That made things infinitely more fun and interesting.
- The perfect ending. After the film’s dramatic, thrilling climax, the ending is funny and sweet and…well, I really don’t know what to say except for “perfect.”
What I didn’t like:
- You might not love Jeff. For starters, he’s kind of a jerk to Lisa (Kelly), picking on everything about her he possibly can to avoid any kind of commitment with her. Plus, he’s generally kind of a grumpy guy (though you can’t help forgiving him that a little since he’s been cooped up in his apartment for so long). And then there’s the biggie: he’s become an obsessive voyeur, and that’s pretty creepy. I think Stewart’s charm is enough to overcome this, but you might disagree.
- There’s a 21-year age gap between Stewart and Kelly. This is a problem I have with Hollywood in general, but older movies seem to be especially bad about it. Lisa is a young, energetic, attractive 20-something. Why the heck would she want to tie herself down to a pessimistic man in his 40s who tries to discourage their relationship at every turn? I don’t quite get it. Still, Stewart and Kelly have undeniable chemistry, so at least there’s that.
A Worthy Resolution? Oh totally. See how minimal my complaints are? This is a well-constructed, engaging mystery/thriller with great performances from Stewart and Kelly. It’s easy to see why it’s regarded as one of Hitchcock’s best. I still don’t think it’s quite beat out Psycho as my favorite, but it is a very close second.
My Grade: A
Yaaayyy happy resolutions! I’m crossing my fingers that my last resolution was a hiccup and it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. Guess we shall see! More resolutions coming your way soon! 🙂