Rear Window – Feels Like the First Time

Everyone has a favorite movie. That movie that you need to watch on a regular basis. That movie that you want to share with those who are most important to you. The movie that you create crazy theories about that are only crazy because everyone else doesn’t understand how vital that movie is to understanding the entire world. As you might be able to tell, I’m still mourning the end of How I Met Your Mother.

But we’re talking movies not television. And not just any movies. Your favorite movie. For some great words on favorite films, head over to The Critical Cinephilewho graciously agreed to join me in watching Rear Window this week. For me, it was my first time. For The Critical Cinephile, it was an opportunity to re-watch his favorite film. I asked The Critical Cinephile to collaborate with me on this film because A) he’s a brilliant movie mind and B) I was interested in how reviews would differ between someone who was watching a movie for the first time and someone who not only has seen the movie before, but considers it their favorite movie of all time. Would we notice different things? Would we appreciate different things? Would he be able to see more of the movie because of his familiarity while I was just trying to keep up with what’s going on? Or would he be so focused on what he loves about it that he might miss things that stand out to me?

What’s your favorite movie? How has your watching of that movie changed since the first time? Can you remember your first time when you didn’t know what was going to happen? Share in the comments! Take a look below for my virgin viewing of Alfred Hitchock’s Rear Window and be sure to head over to the The Critical Cinephile to get the view from the other side.

42. Rear Window

Released: 1954
Big names: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr and Thelma Ritter
One sentence summary: An invalid photographer becomes obsessed with the lives (and deaths?) of the neighbors he watches through the rear window (get it?!) of his apartment.
Scene that sticks out: Hitchcock’s endings always get me and this film was no different.
Thoughts: This was different than the Hitchcock I’d watched before. I was used to suspense built on action and movement in Psycho and Vertigo. In Rear Window, I was stationary, stuck in an apartment with photographer L.B. Jefferies (Stewart) and his broken leg. But that didn’t mean that nothing was happening. Hitchcock kept Jeffries’ (and my own) mind racing with the strange happenings in the lives of his neighbors. The magnificent Miss Torso and her many male visitors. The sad songwriter. The melancholy Miss Lonelyheart. But it was Mr. Thorwald and his invalid wife that really captivate Jeffries and the viewer leading to the brilliant and heart-racing climax. James Stewart was fantastic as usual, Grace Kelly’s Lisa was gorgeous and smart, but my favorite character might’ve been Jeffries’ sassy nurse, Stella (Ritter) who punctuated the suspense with quick wit. Beyond Hitchcock’s masterful suspense or the great performances, what I appreciated most was how this movie made me think. It made me think about how we look at the world. How we are so concerned with what is going on around us and often forget to look at what’s happening in our own lives. How easy it is to jump to conclusions about people based on snippets and flash frames without really knowing what’s going on. How much time we spend watching life go by and how little time we spend actually living.
Ranking (out of 10): 6-10 – I certainly enjoyed this film but of the three Hitchcock films I’ve watched, this comes in a clear third.

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE

You could dedicate an entire book to dissecting the great Alfred Hitchcock (and several people have). But I don’t have that kind of time. So instead, I will just say this. I have seen three Hitchcock films (plus one biopic about the man). I have liked all three and I count two of them among my favorite films of all time. I’m not a horror guy, but Hitchcock’s suspense and thrills enthrall me every time. He made more than 50 films in a wide array of genres and he worked with some of the greatest actors and actresses to ever grace the silver screen. The graphic below merely scratches the surface of Hitchcock’s illustrious career.

A collection of tidbits on the Master of Suspense.

A collection of tidbits on the Master of Suspense.

NEXT WEEK: We travel back in time to the Cold War for Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

4 thoughts on “Rear Window – Feels Like the First Time

  1. The only Hitchcock films I’ve seen are Psycho and Vertigo, but they were fantastic! Even though the horror/suspense genre has borrowed so many ideas from his films, they still feel fresh and exciting. I will have to check out this one next.

  2. Pingback: Rear Window: Old vs. New, In a Matter of Opinion | The Critical Cinephile

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