March 26, 2015
My love of Rear Window began with my mom telling me about it as one of the movies she loved in her day. By the time I finally got to see it on television, it felt like I was watching it for the second time instead of the first. I never tired of re-watching it every time it aired, even on a small TV screen with numerous commercial interruptions. Thanks to the March 25 TCM Presents Rear Window event, I got to see it on the big screen, and it was magic.
Foreshadowing is one of my favorite storytelling devices. In Rear Window this moment is couched in humor. When the insurance company nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), walks into Jeff’s (Jimmy Stewart) apartment, she says “I smell trouble.” She then proceeds to tell him how she also predicted the stock market crash because the director of General Motors had a kidney ailment. It just makes the omen of things to come that much more fun.
The Unlikely Alliance of a wheelchair bound photographer, a high society fashion model, and a down-to-earth, middle aged nurse is one of the things that makes this movie so freaking cool. That and the fact that the older nurse is happily married, and dispenses refreshing and amusing wisdom to Jeff on romance and relationships.
Which leads nicely into the Humor and Wit. Some of my favorite bits:
“I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job: juggling wolves.”
“Did they have signs on their luggage saying ‘Grand Central or Bust’?”
“I can hear you now. ‘Get away from me, you perfectly wonderful woman. You’re too good for me.'”
“You know if someone came in here, they wouldn’t believe what they’d see? You and me with long faces plunged into despair because we find out a man didn’t kill his wife.”
Grace Kelly’s Ensembles – Okay, I have to mention these visually stunning outfits that the even more stunning Grace Kelly wears throughout this movie. I personally want the light green suit ensemble pictured below and the snazzy casual loafers she wears while she’s lounging and reading a Harper’s Bazaar. I love the fact that one of her dresses was so classy and feminine while giving her the freedom of movement to do the legwork that the injured Jeff wasn’t able to.
The slow, real-world like Buildup of Suspense keeps you captivated and then it catches you by surprise. It progresses from Jeff being bored and watching the neighbors for fun to hearing something in the night and not knowing what it is to convincing his skeptical girlfriend and nurse that something is wrong at the apartment across the way. Then suddenly my friend Martha on my one side is saying “Hurry. Run! Run!” to the screen and Dia on my other side is clutching my leg and even though I’ve seen this all a dozen times I am squirming in my seat.
I have a top five list of favorite movies, but after seeing Rear Window AGAIN, and on the big screen at that, I’m going to have to add it to the list and make it my top six.