A wheelchair-bound photographer becomes convinced his neighbor
is a murderer after witnessing suspicious activity from his window.
Rear Window (1954)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by John Michael Hayes
Starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey,
Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn
Based on the short story "It Had to Be Murder" by Cornell Woolrich
Oscar Nominations - Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay,
Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing
Rear Window is a highly tense thriller and one of Alfred Hitchcock's best films. Never before has my heart pounded in anticipation like it did when I was watching this movie. The film creates such an atmosphere of paranoia and suspense that you become scared for the main characters and hope that they're wrong. Because if they're right, then it's only a matter of time before the killer is onto them. Led by a fantastic performance by James Stewart, Rear Window captures the thrill of the hunt by showing you what would happen if your neighbor was a killer.
James Stewart and Grace Kelly lead the film, with great chemistry between them, as they try to unravel the disappearance of Mrs. Anna Thorwald, who they believe was murdered by her husband Lars (Raymond Burr). With very little to go on, the excitement of the film comes from gathering the evidence and the constant possibility that this might be when they get caught. Hitchcock isn't considered the master of suspense for nothing, after all. By the third act, we're still not entirely certain of Thorwald's guilt, but things seem to unfold all at once with a pulse-pounding scene where Grace Kelly's character Lisa breaks into Thorwald's apartment. By then, I was sucked into the film and found my heart racing.
Rear Window is an absolute classic that is still one of the greatest thrillers ever made. It holds up due to a well-adapted screenplay and an ensemble made up of excellent character actors all built around a simple "what if" notion. What if your neighbor had killed somebody and what if, just what if, you figured it out? Such a notion is still scary to think about and the way this film brings it to life is the reason it will never be surpassed. It's a superbly crafted mystery thriller that will forever stand the test of time.