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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on May 18, 2004
Show of hands please --- Who here loves anything with Jimmy Stewart in it? How about the lovely Grace Kelly?
Results --- ** Entire world placing hands skyward. ** :)
Well that's not surprising. Put Jimmy and Grace together (in an Alfred Hitchcock flick no less!), and you can't help but to have a classic piece of motion picture entertainment.
One of the all-time great suspense films, "Rear Window" (1954) places us (the viewer) squarely in the shoes of L.B. Jefferies (Stewart), as he peers out his "rear window" at his courtyard neighbors. (BTW -- My spelling of "Jefferies" in this review IS correct. I've noticed "Jefferies" almost always being misspelled "Jeffries" (lacking an "E"). The spelling of Jeff's last name can easily be verified at the beginning of the movie, when the camera pans across his leg cast, revealing the words: "Here lie the broken bones of L.B. Jefferies". I assume that the filmmakers didn't deliberately have Jeff's last name misspelled on the cast. Of course, I suppose that's always *possible*; but I fail to see a reason WHY they'd do it.) :-)
Hitchcock lets the plot of the movie unfold in sections, building the suspense and drama with his usual superb efficiency and skill. But "Rear Window", when you stop and think about it for a minute, doesn't really follow the same "format" as many (or most) other Hitchcock pictures -- in that we (the audience) are just as much in the dark about this possible "murder" across the courtyard as L.B. Jefferies is. In many of the director's films, "Hitch" lets his viewing audience know, right up front, that there's a "bomb under the table" (to use Hitchcock's own example from his interviews). But in "Window", Mr. H. doesn't give us much up front, and lets us discover things as they happen, right along with Jefferies.
There is one particular part of this movie that has always left me scratching my head, wondering why nothing was done about it during the course of the film. .... Near the beginning of the picture, just after Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) leaves Jeff's apartment, Mr. Jefferies hears a woman scream and hears glass breaking right after the scream. Now -- my question is: WHY didn't Jeff tell his detective friend (Thomas J. Doyle) about having heard this "scream and breaking glass" when he called Doyle into the "case" a short time later? Such evidence would surely have gone a long way toward convincing Jeff's skeptical pal that something HAD indeed occurred across the yard. But this "scream" is never once mentioned in the movie.
But, even with this little "hole" in the plot (IMO), "Rear Window" remains near the top of my list of "Best Hitchcock Films". Everything about it is impressive --- The small courtyard (which was actually custom-built right on the movie-studio's soundstage!); the kooky neighbors; the tension-filled storyline; Hitchcock's cameo in the "songwriter's" apartment; the radio playing in the background; the "street sounds"; "Miss Torso"; Jimmy Stewart's performance; Thelma Ritter as the sassy nurse; Grace Kelly for just being there; the mysterious trips with the suitcase; etc., etc.
This DVD comes under Universal's "Collector's Edition" label, and is packed with many first-rate extra features. Let's probe these, shall we? ..........
>> "Rear Window Ethics" is a 55-minute original documentary detailing the making of this Hitchcock classic and the restoration process undertaken to bring the film back to visual perfection for this first-ever DVD release. Very good documentary.
>> There is also a second featurette about the film, entitled "Screenwriter John Michael Hayes On Rear Window". This bonus lasts 13:10.
>> Photo Gallery. -- This gallery of production photos and advertising materials runs all by itself on its own timed track. Music from the film plays as you watch the images go by. The gallery CAN be paused for longer looks at each image. Running time (without pausing) is 3:07.
>> Original Theatrical Trailer.
>> Re-release Trailers for 5 different Hitchcock films. -- Narrated by James Stewart. Length: 6:15.
>> Text features with "Production Notes" and some biography pieces on the Cast & Crew.
Another small "mini-bonus" I kind of like is a video montage of Hitchcock movie clips when "Play" is selected from the Main Menu. This, however, can easily be bypassed quickly with an additional remote key stroke.
Video and Audio Specifications:
This color film is presented in an Anamorphic Widescreen format, and looks mighty fine thanks to the restoration efforts. The image is as clear and clean as we've ever seen it. The 2-channel Mono Dolby Digital soundtrack serves the material on screen adequately.
There is some confusion as to the film's aspect ratio. The packaging shows the ratio on this DVD is supposed to be 1.66:1. And evidently it IS that ratio. But, due to something inherent to the "anamorphic" transfer process with regard to this particular ratio (1.66:1), this DVD will display the image on your TV in a wider-looking ratio (closer to 1.85:1). That is, if your TV is a "standard" set (with a 4x3 shaped screen). If you're watching this DVD on a "Widescreen 16x9" set, then the image should fill the entire screen (except for small "pillarboxed" bars on the left and right sides of the screen). But on some 16x9 TVs, these "side bars" aren't visible due to the "overscan".
In any event, the anamorphic image on this disc looks quite good, no matter how it's ultimately formatted onto your screen.
A four-page booklet is included inside this DVD package, with a chapter listing on the back, plus some Production Notes and reproductions of five "Rear Window" lobby cards/posters.
Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" has stood the test of time for many decades, and will no doubt stand erect for many more to come. If you like this movie, there's no better way to re-visit it than by indulging in this picture-perfect "Collector's Edition" DVD.
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on July 5, 2004
North By Northwest and Vertigo are spectacular cinematic achievements but, for me, Rear Window is the one Hitchcock movie everyone must see. It is as perfect as a Hitchcock movie can be. One of the greatest American movies ever made. Not one false note. It is the movie I would show to someone who hasn't seen a Hitchcock movie but wonders what they're all about and why he's so revered. The tremendous psychological drama and cat and mouse suspense are perfectly tuned. Stewart turns in a brillantly nuanced performance as a morally dubious peeping tom. The film is about him, of course. Not about an unseen murder or a pieced together amateur murder investigation. Listen to the dialogue and observe the interactions between Stewart and his guests. Subtext and more subtext. Just perfect.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon August 2, 2011
It's a hot evening in attendance apartment complex. Evidently there is no air-conditioning or self-consciousness that open windows attracts voyeurs. L.B. 'Jeff' Jeffries (James Stewart) is wheelchair bound and board. So for entertainment he gets out his high-powered binoculars to see with the neighbors across the courtyard that conveniently leaves their blinds open are up to. Naturally he must make up scenarios as to what it is he thinks he seeing. The shocker is he believes he spotted a neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) dispatching and disposing of his spouse. He adamantly tells his girlfriend and eventually the authorities. Naturally there is no forthcoming evidence despite the incessant snooping of his girlfriend Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly.)

Could be he was wrong in his assumption. Or will Lars get Jeff and the little dog too?

This is a typical Alfred Hitchcock movie. That this atypical, is not to say that it isn't great, and lots of fun to watch. We see more than our share of great actors including the Princess of Monaco when she was just Grace Kelly and Raymond Burr in one of his few dark character personas.
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on August 7, 2012
Le film est tel que je me le rappelais. La livraison a été rapide et le film est arrivé sans heurts.

Ce film d'Hithcock est un de mes préféré, depuis longtemps.
Il faut le voir au moins une fois, et vous y reviendrez après c'est certain.
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on November 16, 2002
This 1954 film was directed by the great master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock and stars James Stewart as Jeff, and Grace Kelly as Lisa. Jeff is a photojournalist with a broken leg after an accident on one of his previous news assignment. He is bound to his wheelchair in his small apartment over looking a wide variety of people with different stories, and situations. He's bored so he observes them, but when one of them shows suspicious behavior, he believes there has been a murder. He becomes obsessed and watches day and night, even getting his friends involved. Since they have no evidence, they must investigate themselves.
This is another masterpiece from Hitchcock, with many layers, and stories going on. The direction is great, and the film ends very suspenseful. The acting is perfect by both leads. The film is great as entertainment, but also you can have a variety of interpretations of what Hitchcock really meant with this film. This is a classic and should be in every film lovers DVD collection. Highly recommended. 5 stars.
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on September 19, 2002
This is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. Part of its appeal lies in its originality and simplicity. Jeff (played by James Stewart) is an injured photographer who's confined to a wheelchair in his apartment. The story revolves around the things he sees from his window as he's spying on his neighbors. Binoculars in hand, Jeff looks at what everyone's doing and knows a lot about each of their lives.
He begins to suspect his neighbor of murdering his wife, and a number of things happen that seem to support that hypothesis. He investigates, and gets both his girlfriend (played by Grace Kelly) and his nurse to help him.
Directing was an art for Hitchcock, and his ability is showcased marvelously in this thriller. Using just the apartment building for a set, Hitchcock creates an aura of suspense and uncertainty that will keep you involved throughout the movie.
The acting in this movie is superb, and its story is interesting, all the way to the final climax involving the helpless Jeff. This is a movie that definitely deserves to be on AFIs top 100 list.
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on September 19, 2002
"Rear Window" came to my attention 20 years ago, courtesy of my mom. She and I were talking about our favorite scary movies, and mine, of course, were confined primarily to blood and gore. She then told me about this amazingly simple story about "a man confined to a chair who may or may not have seen a murder." When I asked her how he could've seen a murder from his perspective in an apartment wheelchair, she told me "that's where all the suspense comes from." The movie was then rereleased in theaters, and I saw it for the first time. To put it simply, I was floored; no film with such a simple skeleton should have this much flesh and blood packed in a running time of 114 minutes. I went out and purchased it the moment it became a home video. The single-set confinement, the sub-stories involving the other neighbors, the cat-and-mouse interplay (not just with Jeffries and Thorwald, but with Stewart, Corey, Kelly, and Thelma Ritter) is spellbinding. (Sorry, that's another movie.) It's also a wonderfully adult movie, with more than a little sexy entendre betwixt James Stewart and the gorgeous Grace Kelly. One of my top ten favorites, I can honestly conclude that it is Hitchcock's masterpiece.
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on September 15, 2002
This is the perfect thriller, driven by the voyeur in all of us. Hitchcock understood that most people are more comfortable looking at the lives of others from a distance. We can become involved and passionate about it even, just as we do with the movies, and yet have great difficulty one on one. This film subtly explores this area of our personalities while giving us one of the most entertaining films of all time.
Would you have trouble commiting to the elegant and sexy Grace Kelly? Jeff (Jimmy Stewart) does, as we get to hear about when he is laid up in a cast because of an accident while he was on an assignment. Jeff (short for Jeffries) is used to seeing the world through the illuminating lens of his camera, he is a professional photographer. Lisa's (Grace Kelley) patience and elegant charm and the always no nonsense practicality of Nurse Thelma Ritter makes for great entertainment as Jeff is bored and begins watching his neighbors across the courtyard.
Jeff becomes involved in their lives like he is watching a daily soap opera, much to the disapproval of Lisa. He takes to heart their loneliness and finds pleasure in their fine moments. But something darker begins to take shape when Jeff begins to piece together what he has seen in one apartment and fears he may be spying on a killer.
His own disbelief and Lisa's early scorn turns into an obsession that becomes evermore dangerous for all of them as Lisa begins to be Jeff's legs and believe him. But the man who may have murdered his wife may believe he has seen to much and the tension escalates to a fever pitch, putting all their lives in danger, as the voyeuristic climate changes to 'one on one'.
This is wonderful entertainment. It moves deftly from light and breezy to a more concerned tone, graduating to nail biting, grab the arm of your chair, suspense. This is a teriffic and enjoyable film and one of Hitchcock's best. Raymond Burr as the possible murderer creates terror just by a glance across the courtyard at the spying Stewart. Kelly and Ritter give this film it's footing, making the events completely believable.
But it is Jimmy Stewart who hit's this one out of the park to dead center. He gives one of his finest performances here, conveying the irritation of being in a cast and the emotional helplessness when he may not be able to escape the consequences of his own voyeurism because of it. You'll watch this one every time someone comes over once you own it. Enjoy.....
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on March 7, 2001
Finally, It's here and available. I've been waiting for this DVD for a long time and the wait was well worth it.
Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 masterpiece, "Rear Window", was painstakingly remastered by the team of Robert A. Harris and James Katz. This is the same team that did a splendid job on "Vertigo" and they almost one up thier previous effort. The DVD has a special 55 minute documentary and in one of the sections they discuss how they went about the process of the restoration and the extreme difficulties they encountered in bringing this classic back to life.
I can't begin to think of all the hard work and tedious hours of work they had to confront. Ahead of them was a daunting task of organizing and fitting hundreds of thousands of feet of raw footage, negatives, positives, and foreign transfers together in one coherant, unified film. In the interview, it was documented that the negatives were virtually untreatable. It's a near miracle that they produced the quality that they did on this DVD.
There is one important point to make about this treatment and restoration of the film to DVD...It is not perfect. The quality of the restoration is not as good as the job they did on "Vertigo". You will see some minor artifacts, medium to high grain resolution at times, and some mismatching of shots from high focus, less color saturation to slightly blurry focus but higher color resolution. Katz and Harris explain in the interview why they had to make certain compromises due to the lack of resources they encountered.
But all in all the valiant effort and there is nothing that really distracts you from this spectacular and breathtaking film. After viewing this film you will see why Hitchcock was the grandmaster at "pure cinema". Hitchcock had a sixth sense in knowing where to put the camera at all times for maximum effect.
I can only think of 2-3 modern day directors that have this deep advanced intuition of camera placement, movement & composition to create a purely visual experience for the audience. This is a very important responsibility for the director. To know exactly where a camera is to be positioned for dramatic effect and the progression of tension and drama within a scene. In my opinion, the two current directors that really stand out with this extraordinary talent are Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.
Back to the DVD...Buy it. I strongly recommend the purchase. If your a Hichcock fan this is a must. If your a regular movie fan you will see an excellent display of filmmaking at it's finest.
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on March 5, 2001
I saw Rear Window for the first time when I was about 12-13 years old. Even though I didn't quite understand everything that was happening in the plot (Miss Lonely Heart, the newlyweds, etc.), the suspense still got to me. I remember trying to sleep one time after watching it, but I kept looking into the shadows of my room trying to find Thorwald waiting for me! That's the thing I love most about the film. With one beautifully detailed sound stage and some excellent acting/directing, Hitchcock scared me more than any other movie I'd ever seen (included at the time the Alien movies, The Shining, etc.). Now I'm 20 and I've seen the movie many more times and have come to appreciate every one of it's nuances. Sadly, it has disappeared from stores and rental shops in past years. That's why I was very happy to learn that the restored version was to be reissued on DVD! I was lucky enough to find a movie theater near me that was playing the restored version, and it looks absolutely wonderful. Even if it weren't for the great extras (production stills, script(!), production notes, trailer, and a documentary) it would still be a great buy.
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