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Rear Window (1954)

aka Rear Window

"It only takes one witness to spoil the perfect crime."

Directed By: 
Details: 114 mins · English · PG (USA)

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From Everybody:

A tense, voyeuristic thriller.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is tense, voyeuristic thriller with terrific banter about the complexities of relationships between men and women, but as strong as the film’s climactic showdown and its performances by Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly are, it’s hard not to laugh at least a little, at the frantic sped up footage of people trying to rescue Stewart as he hangs out his window.

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Cast:

Small Lisa Carol Fremont
Small L. B. Jefferies
Small Detective Lt. Thomas Doyle
Small Stella
Small Lars Thornwald
No_movie_poster Miss Lonelyheart
No_movie_poster Songwriter
No_movie_poster Miss Torso
No_movie_poster Woman on Fire Escape
No_movie_poster Man on Fire Escape
No_movie_poster Miss Hearing Aid
No_movie_poster Newlywed
No_movie_poster Mrs. Emma Thorwald
No_movie_poster Newlywed
Small Man winding clock in songwriter's apartment

Crew:

Small Alfred Hitchcock Director
No_movie_poster Herbert Coleman Second Unit
No_movie_poster Robert Burks Director of Photography
No_movie_poster George Tomasini Editor
Small Edith Head Costume Design
No_movie_poster John Michael Hayes Screenplay
No_movie_poster J. McMillan Johnson Art Direction
No_movie_poster Hal Pereira Art Direction
No_movie_poster James C. Katz Producer
No_movie_poster Sam Comer Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Ray Moyer Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Wally Westmore Makeup Artist
No_movie_poster C.O. Erickson Unit Production Manager
No_movie_poster Cornell Woolrich Author
No_movie_poster Franz Waxman Original Music Composer
Small Alfred Hitchcock Production
No_movie_poster Cornell Woolrich Story Contributor

Taglines:

"It only takes one witness to spoil the perfect crime."

"The most UNUSUAL and INTIMATE journey into human emotions ever filmed!!!"

"Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways...and Murder!"

"In deadly danger...because they saw too much!"

"See It! - If your nerves can stand it after PSYCHO! (1962 re-release)"

"Suspense Of Screaming Proportions!"

Plot:



After breaking his leg photographing a racetrack accident, professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies (James Stewart) is confined in his Greenwich Village apartment, using a wheelchair while he recuperates. His rear window looks out onto a small courtyard and several other apartments. During a summer heat wave, he passes the time by watching his neighbors, who keep their windows open to stay cool. The tenants he can see include a dancer he nicknames "Miss Torso", a lonely woman he nicknames "Miss Lonelyheart", a songwriter, several married couples, a middle-aged sculptor, and Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), a wholesale jewelry salesman with a bedridden wife.


After Thorwald and his wife apparently have an argument, Thorwald makes repeated late-night trips carrying his sample case. Jeff notices that Thorwald's wife is gone and sees Thorwald cleaning a large knife and handsaw. Later, Thorwald ties a large packing crate with heavy rope and has moving men haul it away. Jeff discusses these observations with his wealthy socialite girlfriend Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) and his insurance company home-care nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), and becomes obsessed with their theory that Thorwald murdered his wife. He explains their theory to his friend Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey), a New York City Police detective, and asks him to find out whether anyone actually picks up the packing crate. Doyle looks into the situation but finds nothing suspicious, and discovers that "Mrs. Thorwald" picked up the packing crate. After Doyle leaves, Jeff asks Lisa if she thinks it was ethical for him to spy on his neighbor with binoculars and a telephoto lens; Lisa replies that she doesn't know much about "rear window ethics" but comments on their morbid curiosity by asking, "Whatever happened to that old saying, 'Love thy neighbor'?"


Soon after, a neighbor's dog is found dead with its neck broken. When the owner sees the lifeless body of her dog she screams to the courtyard: "You don't know the meaning of the word 'neighbors'. Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies! But none of you do!" and cries in grief. During the woman's hysterics, the neighbors all rush to their windows to see what has happened, except for Thorwald, whose cigar can be seen glowing as he sits in his dark apartment. Convinced that Thorwald is guilty after all, Jeff has Lisa slip an accusatory note under Thorwald's door so Jeff can watch his reaction when he reads it. Then, as a pretext to get Thorwald away from his apartment, Jeff telephones him and arranges a meeting at a bar. He thinks Thorwald may have buried something in the courtyard flower patch and then killed the dog to keep it from digging it up. When Thorwald leaves, Lisa and Stella dig up the flowers but find nothing.


Lisa then climbs the fire escape to Thorwald's apartment and squeezes in through an open window. When Thorwald returns and grabs Lisa, Jeff calls the police, who arrive in time to save her. With the police present, Jeff sees Lisa with her hands behind her back, wiggling her finger with Mrs. Thorwald's wedding ring on it. Thorwald also sees this, realizes that she is signaling to someone, and notices Jeff across the courtyard.


Jeff phones Doyle, now convinced that Thorwald is guilty of something, and Stella heads for the police station to post bail for Lisa, leaving Jeff alone. He soon realizes that Thorwald is coming to his apartment. When Thorwald enters the apartment and approaches him, Jeff repeatedly sets off his camera flashbulbs, temporarily blinding Thorwald. Thorwald grabs Jeff and pushes him toward the open window as Jeff yells for help. Jeff falls to the ground just as some police officers enter the apartment and others run to catch him. Thorwald confesses the murder of his wife and the police arrest him.


A few days later, the heat has lifted and Jeff rests peacefully in his wheelchair, now with casts on both legs. The lonely neighbor woman chats with the songwriter in his apartment, the dancer's lover returns home from the army, the couple whose dog was killed have a new dog, and the newly married couple are bickering. In the last scene of the film, Lisa reclines beside Jeff, appearing to read a book on foreign travel in order to please him, but as soon as he is asleep she puts the book down and happily opens a fashion magazine.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : United States of America

Theatrical : 1954-08-01 : United States of America

DVD : 2001-03-06

DVD : 2008-10-07

DVD : 2005-07-05