Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Retro Review: REAR WINDOW (1954)

Welcome to another installment of RETRO REVIEW where we take a look at films made before the year 2000.  Today we review Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1954 mystery thriller, REAR WINDOW.  Enjoy!

Rear Window...Wow, what a truly suspenseful, thrilling, and just flat out terrifically entertaining motion picture. The master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, is on full form here, keeping us on our toes throughout the film, always second guessing what route the story is heading. By focusing the camera primarily on the courtyard of the apartment, we, the audiences, are always on edge, always waiting for something to happen.

Masterful.  Oh, and my gosh, the pacing is incredible! Pacing is key in a suspense film, if it drags, the suspense dies, but it thrives and lives in Rear Window! I also find Rear Window, though it is a dark mystery film, to be one of his most accessible, amusing and wildly entertaining films. There are moments of levity spread out across, most with Thelma Ritter's character who I will get to in a moment, and some of the eccentric personalities that live in the apartment complex.

James Stewart and Grace Kelly have great chemistry, with the latter delivering an impeccable, pardon the pun, graceful performance, and the former delivering a strong, understated performance. But it was Thelma Ritter who truly steals the show, with her distinct New York City accent and her comedic timing. As I sort of mentioned before, she is just brilliant!

The camerawork is inspired and stellar, with multiple shots framed from the point of view of a camera lens, which conveys the ''Someone is always watching'' aspect of the film. The technicolour, which has been restored quite brilliantly, is beautiful to behold, as is the production design!

Though shot entirely at Paramount Studios, the design of the apartments and the courtyard etc., really gave off the impression that it could be real, and even in some shots where it does look like a studio, it doesn't matter, because now that Rear Window and Hitchcock's legacy is apart of film history, when a scene or a shot looks like a soundstage, it sort of feels rich, in old Hollywood glamour.

Some of the faults I have with the film are small ones, like how did Thorwald confess to the police so quickly? And how did the police get to Thorwald's apartment so soon? And how did the police get back to Thorwald's apartment after bringing back Lisa?

These flaws aren't important enough though to stop Rear Window from instantly becoming one of my favourite films, as the great characters, engaging and entertaining mystery, stellar performances, brilliant visual choices and the fantastic score, all make up for the small flaws.

Oh... And the dog scene broke my heart.

Sammy's Score: 9.5/10

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