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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Star's Favorite...Movies-Rear Window

My absolute favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie is 'Rear Window', it's also the first Hitchcock movie I ever watched. Maybe that's why it is and remains my favorite production by the brilliant Hitchcock. Where do I start in my love and admiration for this movie. Maybe I should start with a list of subjects that will explain why this is probably the best Hitchcock film and one of the best films ever made.

The Set-OOH, AAH!
The fact that this whole story takes place in an apartment with a background of a courtyard scattered with NYC apartments windows. The set design is just awesome and utterly brilliant. I'd never quite seen anything quite like this except in Hitchcock's 'Rope' but it wasn't done in that movie as well as it is in Rear Window. The opening scene with the window shades coming up, just welcome you to our main character's world. When I saw this movie as a child and I watched that opening sequence, I was immediately drawn in and wanted to see more. I'm so glad I did. The courtyard was set up on stilts on the actual warehouse set, it was ingenious to allow them to get shots and do amazing things with an amazing set. You get to take peek into the lives of a few more residents of the surrounding buildings. The newlywed couple, the dancer with a body to die for and many a man vying for it, the songwriter with songwriting issues, the lonely lady whose in need of love, the bickering couple with the cute doggie and our most interesting neighbor the traveling salesmen with the bed-ridden wife in a very unhappy marriage. Then there's our main character L.B. Jefferies, our wheelchair bound hero who's on his last week of having his entire leg in a cast and his lady love, who's looking for more from their relationship, Lisa Carol Fremont, this brings us to the next reason I love this movie so much.

The Cast-Couldn't Have Done Better than these Actors
The cast of this movie just could not have been more stellar. Jimmy Stewart starred as L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies our wheel chair bound hero, Grace Kelly as the beautiful socialite Lisa Carol Fremont, Thelma Ritter as Stella his nurse, Wendell Corey as Jeff's friend who gets wrangled into investigating this supposed crime, and Raymond Burr as the menacing killer. Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey are certainly two of the most underrated actors in classic Hollywood and they did stand out roles in this movie. Stewart and Kelly just brought great chemistry as a couple who aren't just investigating a possible murder by a neighbor but also investigating whether or not they can make it as an actual couple.

The Wardrobe-No One Does it Like Edith Head
Let me say this, I'm a fan of the wardrobe styling of Edith Head. She is world famous and brilliant with her designs. I'm going to say about Grace Kelly's wardrobe in this movie, it's beautiful, sophisticated, classy, and elegant. It's also perfect on her and makes me long for the days of petticoats and ladies that actually dressed for dinner. The first black and white outfit pictured below is one of my favorites, I'm still trying to figure out a way to get that designed for me just for the hell of it. 

The Story-Pure Suspense with a Love Story Thrown In as Only Hitchcock Does
The storyline centers around L.B 'Jeff' Jefferies as he's on his last week of being stuck in a wheelchair in his small apartment and he's ready to get back to his job as a photojournalist. In his anxiousness he's been sitting at his large picture windows observing the bevy of neighbors in the apartment courtyard and making up things about their lives. He's also got another issue his beautiful lady friend, Lisa Carol Fremont, who wants to be more than friends and is trying to convince Jeff that he feels the same way but Jeff needs more convincing. But in all his observations, Jeff has noticed that his neighbor, the traveling salesman played by Raymond Burr seems to be having issues in his marriage and his observations of his marriage make Jeff unsure about his growing relationship with Lisa. In the midst giving sage advice and fussing is Stella, Jeff's nosy nurse, the funny and irreverent Thelma Ritter. While staying up one night, Jeff hears something that startles him a scream from a courtyard window and when the traveling salesman wife comes up missing, Jeff's mind goes to the most sinister. The suspense starts from there and the love story gets even better as a daring Lisa impresses and scares Jeff with her sense of adventure as she tries to him solve the mystery of the missing bed-ridden wife. The suspense is wonderful and steady. Also there's the scariness in knowing that our hero is wheelchair bound, how scary is it when someone comes after you but you can't get away. The final scene is just fair scary and you'll love it and be on the end of your seat. This movie wonderful. I can actually watch it again and again and it's always like the first time I've seen it. 

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