The Favorites is a series briefly exploring films I love, to find out what makes them - and me - tick. Rear Window (1954/USA/dir. Alfred Hitchcock) appeared at #66 on my original list.
What it is • L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is a globe-trotting photographer at home in exotic locales ranging from remote wilderness to combat zone. In the skies over Europe or the Pacific in World War II, he befriended co-pilot Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey), now a police detective in New York City. Jeffries is in New York too, recovering after an accident on a car race track which broke his leg (but the picture was worth it). Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), a lovely high society girl, flits from social event to social event on Park or Fifth Avenue, but her heart is in humble Greenwich Village with Jeffries, whom she hopes to marry (he's resistant both to accepting and breaking off their relationship, preferring the non-commital status quo). Meanwhile, the man who lives across the courtyard from Jeffries, Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has sent a woman off to the countryside - perhaps to Connecticut or Long Island, and perhaps she's his wife...or his mistress. But if it's his mistress, where is his wife? Buried somewhere else? Stashed away in the apartment? Ghoulishly scattered across the city and in the East River? (I just now got Thelma Ritter's "I want no part of it" pun for the first time.) Our story of adventure, romance, and murder spans all of these various locations...
Except it doesn't. Rear Window takes place entirely within a single apartment (save for a few one- or two-second shots in the courtyard). Even when we look into other rooms we are doing so from Jeffries' vantage point. This is the brilliance of Rear Window: it locks itself down to one location despite its multiplicity.
Why I like it •