Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rear Window - Movie Review

Put the photographer in a cast and give him a whole neighborhood to peep into. He notices something not quite right and then tries to add two and two together. Why is the man with the sick wife packing a saw, a knife and then making late night trips with a heavy suitcase? Where is the wife? He calls in his cop friend who finds out all we need to know. The alibi is that the man dropped his wife at the station - she went long distance and that's it.

The photographer (James Stewart) is convinced though that all is not well and keeps at it. His model girl friend (Grace Kelly) helps while his cop friend gets tired and moves out. He does everything but check whether the lady is alive. Anyway they find enough evidence to nail the man and he confesses.

Challenge in the screenplay is to limit everything to the one room and the few angles that are available from there. Within that it is admirably done. The stories that are created in the flats across - the lonely lady looking for company, the struggling musician, the newly wed couple, the salesman and his sick wife, the couple who sleep n the balcony and their dog, the dancer are all unforgettable characters with solid stories of their own. I was not too convinced why the policeman did not make a bigger effort to actually trace the wife and put it all out of question. Nor was I convinced why or how the salesman buries his wife (even her body parts) in the flower bed is in full view of all the flats especially when he knows there is a dog around.

But James Stewart is brilliant and Grace Kelly astounding with her beauty and charm. It's slow owing to the constraints but it pans out well in the end. Alfred Hitchcock puts in a bit scene as he normally does in his movies, in a scene with the musician. A No 42 in AFI's top 100 movies. Certainly worth a watch.

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