An enticing plot with great cinematic shots and a well defined set.
Jefferies (James Stewart) an established photographer sits in a wheelchair with a cast on his leg. With no other way to spend his time, he resorts to looking out his back window at surrounding neighbours. His neighbours include Songwriter (Ross Bagdasarian), Miss Torso (Georgine Darcy), Woman (Sara Berner) and Man on Fire escape (Frank Cady), and lastly Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) and his wife, Emma (Irene Winston). Through his not so subtle peeping, Jefferies suspects that Thorwald has killed his wife and calls detective friend Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey) over to investigate. Stella (Thelma Ritter) an insurance company nurse, visits him during the day, and his girlfriend, Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) visits him during the night. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Starting off, it seemed like an OK film, I mean it was made in the 50’s and it showed. However, things got rolling when Jefferies first suspects the murder and suddenly the audience is very involved. Most of the time we see what Jefferies sees, but sometimes we get a glimpse of more. This and the fact that we see only windows from other buildings, is very Hitchcock like, in the sense that he was heavily influenced by psychoanalysts like Freud.
He plays a lot on the sense of frames: the screen we’re watching it on –> the camera lens –> the window Jefferies looks out of –> the windows of the neighbours he/we see through. And essentially he is the voyeur and we are the voyeur x2.
The acting was pretty good overall, Stewart does an all right job, though isn’t very convincing in his argument. Kelly was good too, and her character was well established, though the romance scenes between them were very stale and awkward to watch. However, Raymond Burr really transmits the aura of his character so well and we as the audience can feel a kind of tension surrounding him.
I honestly didn’t know what this film was about until I watched it, and didn’t know if he did or did not kill his wife. So I was trying to figure it out as the film progressed, and it was very engaging. The last scene was really well done, when it got to the climax I think I was unconsciously tensing up. The look gave me the shivers. The one that’s at the end of the trailer above.
Overall, a really intriguing well-done film, but had bits of awkwardness.
PROS: Plots, shots, acting
CONS: Awkward romance
I give this a 9/10.
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Side-note: Heard that the movie ‘Disturbia’ was based on this. I was much more freaked out and disturbed by that film than this, but I see how it relates.