Saturday, 21 August 2010

"I always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald!"

In 1942 Cornell Woolrich (whose real name was William Irish) wrote a short story called "It had to be murder", in which a man watches a murder from his window. It should become an immortal film classic in 1954 - directed by Alfred Hitchcock and with a changed title: REAR WINDOW.

In a nutshell:
After an accident photojournalist L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (James Stewart) is forced to stay in his appartment. He passes the time watching his neighbours across the courtyard. After a chain of strange events he assumes that his neighbour Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has killed his wife.
Jeff, his girlfriend - the glamour girl Lisa Fremont (Grace Kelly) - and Stella - Jeff's nurse (Thelma Ritter) - start to investigate. ...

Watch out for:
  • Alfred Hitchcock's cameo!


  • Judith Evelyn - Miss Lonelyheart - played also in GIANT (1956) and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV (1958).

  • Allegedly Raymond Burr was supposed to colour his hair grey, because he should look like David O. Selznick, with whom Hitchcock has had some quarrels.
  • Though they were within the Paramount studios and especially build for this movie, the apartments in Thorwald's house had electricity and running water, and could actually be lived in. Miss Torso (Georgine Darcy) allegedly relaxed in her "apartment" between the takes as if it was her real home.
  • You may know Ross Bagdasarian - the Songwriter - as the singing soldier in STALAG 17 (1953) and creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • Hitchcock did the direction directly from Jeff's apartment - the other actors outside had little earpieces to get the direction.

  • For the German (-speaking) filmviewers: After the rights to this movie reverted to Hitchcock all prints with the first German dubbing of 1955 were destroyed, so that a new dubbing had to be created in 1984 for the new release. (I think, this is why Jeff uses the word "arse" - I am pretty sure, that he didn't do that in the 1955 version..)

  • This was the 4th and last score for Hitchcock by Franz Waxman.

  • Maybe you have recognized the voice of Jeff's editor Gunnison, whilst he is talking to Jeff on the phone: It's Gig Young!

Murphy's Law:
  • Lisa's slippers are magically arranged after she had tossed them in her suitcase shortly before. Where can I learn that, please? This would do wonders for my packing skills!
  • The drinks in several glasses seem to refresh themself.

My favourite feature:

The set!! All this lights and people and stories!! It's a bit like a giant living dollhouse!

Scene to see:

Jeff is set about to eat his breakfast and Stella starts talking about how Thorwald possibly could have cut up his wife. - But, please!, watch the whole movie!! I can't imagine that you'll regret that!

Window shopping:
Lisa's night gown, her white and black dress from her entrance scene, her jeans and her black dress will go perfectly with my garderobe. (I sure have a soft spot for Edith Head's fashion!)

Quotes corner:

I picked this one, because right now it fits the weather situation (here) perfectly:

"You'd think the rain would've cooled things down. All it did was make the heat wet."

This film may be the perfect Hitchcock film for beginners. You can relate to the hero (you are watching movies like he is watching his neighbours, so I guess you are at least a bit interested in other ones' lives..), Grace Kelly is so photogenic it almost kills me and these little stories about the neighbours intrigue every one I know so far. Plus: I am a huge Thelma Ritter fan! I love wise-cracking dames!

(I love how James Stewart turns and starts talking to the audience. I like my stars talking to me..)

Goodbye! I've got to go and watch another movie and:

"Oh, I love funny exit lines."


  1. Awesome Irene. Rear Window is not only one of my favorite Hitch movies, but one of my favorite movies period. It was one of the first movies I posted when I started my blog last year. I see we think alike. Can't wait to see what your next post will be about.

  2. And again we totally agree, Monty. That's marvellous! (- and encourages me to talk about my favourites!)

    I think it's awesome that we both chose rear window for one of our first post. - But honestly: How could you avoid that?? This film is quite terrific! :")

    I promise not to peek into your first posts so my comming post will show if we agree furthermore. ;"p

  3. Very nice post Irene, I have'nt seen Rear Window for many years so reading your post has whetted my appetite to see it again.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Thank you, Paul! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I - and apperently Monty, too - do! :")

    Each time in this special moment - everyone who watched this movie knows which moment I refer to - when Thorwald looks up: I think it'll give me a heart attack - creepy! :")


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")