Cast: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Rated as one of the best Hitchcock films from ‘Vertigo’, ‘Lady Vanishes’, ‘Rebecca’ and ‘The Birds’, ‘Rear Window’ has all the best Hitchcock elements in a very sophisticated package: humour, fantasy, teasing sex, suspense and daredevilry.
Hitchcock’s single room shooting location is the focus of the whole film, used very judiciously. Photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) is wheel-chair bound nursing a broken leg. With nothing else to do, he becomes a voyeur watching his neighbours from his rear apartment window, which faces a courtyard and the rear windows of various other apartments. He tries to entice his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) and his glamorous girlfriend Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) to join him in his pastime, but they not only detest him from doing it, but also call him a peeping Tom.
He nicknames those he watches. You have the shapely Miss Torso (Georgine Darcy) who dances around in skimpy costumes, songwriter-pianist (Ross Bagdasarian), a newly married couple with a pet dog, and Miss Lonely-hearts (Judith Evelyn) who prepares dinners for her dates who never show up.
Jeff’s attention falls on his neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) whose wife suddenly disappears. Jeff assumes Lars has murdered her. He informs Stella and Lisa, but both pass it off as a fantasy, until they see mysterious goings on in the flat, observing Thorwald through Jeff’s telescopic camera lens. Jeff informs his personal friend Police Lieutenant Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey) who labels it as an imagination. Lisa attempts to uncover the mystery by breaking into Thorwald’s house, only to get caught and handed over to the police.
Just like Jeff, the viewer is not really given any real clues if there was even a crime, or what happened. The viewer has the same amount of information as Jeff. But the events thereafter lead to one of the most memorable and gripping endings in all of film history.
— Verus Ferreira