June 29, 2009

Summer of Hitchcock: Rear Window

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Rear Window

A few months ago, I watched Rear Window for the first time. I was supposed to go somewhere while it was on but put it off until the movie was over. Once I started watching, I had to see how it would turn out.

Photographer Jeff (Jimmy Stewart) breaks his leg and has to spend his recovery in his apartment. These are the days before TV and video games so he gets bored just sitting around. He starts spying on his neighbours who offer him hours of entertainment. Occasionally his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) comes over to keep him company. She can't help but get sucked into the voyeurism. When one of his neighbours starts acting fishy and his wife disappears, Jeff starts nosing around a little too much. His interest borders on obsession. His police friend doesn't believe him and this only fuels the fire. Sooner or later, he's going to get burned.

I loved this movie. A little voyeurism never hurt anyone, right? It's all fun and games until someone ends up dead. It's a movie that hits a little close to home. I've never really had neighbours before I moved. I don't know if I can get used to people sitting out on their decks watching me wash the car. And I can't help but notice their comings and goings. (I wonder what so-and-so are up to in their yard. Someone bought a new car? Seriously, someone needs to put a leash on muffy.) I'm drawing the line at sitting in the window with a camera lens though. It all starts out as fun. A little entertainment. But then Jeff sees something he shouldn't have and things get ugly.

The familiarity of the plot inspired a lot of other movies and TV shows. It's got to be Hitchcock's most copied. Here's a short list of ones I remember:

The 'Burbs: Even if it wasn't intended, The 'Burbs is Rear Window-esque. I loved this movie growing up- and not just because of Corey Feldman either. Tom Hanks is hilarious as a guy forced by his wife to take a vacation at home. Sitting around in his bathrobe is just too boring and he starts watching the strange new family- the ones who dig holes in the middle of the night! I think the funniest scene is when the neighbourhood visit the new family and they all have crackers and sardines. Awkward! I feel like watching it again.

The Simpsons (Bart of Darkness): After the Simpsons get a pool, Bart breaks his leg and has to spend the summer cooped up in his room. Lisa gives him a telescope but Bart thinks looking at the sky is too boring o he watches goodie-neighbour Flanders. Bart suspects Flanders killed his wife Maude and has Lisa snoop around. 'Jimmy Stewart' makes an appearance.

Disturbia: Remake that Shia Labeouf said was not a remake... Okay then... It totally is. Teen angst, technology and voyeurism. Shia is under house arrest. He watches his sexy neighbour swim and his other neighbour, Mr Turner, mow the grass (Mrs Turner Cutting the Grass?). Only Mr Turner doesn't reminisce about his lost youth, he murders red heads. Much more violent and lame than Rear Window.

The Unusuals (The Dentist): I love this quirky new cop show. Det Leo Banks (Harold Perrineau- Michael from Lost) thinks he's going to die before his next birthday. So he does what any normal person would do and locks himself in his apartment. Thinking he's safe, he watches the neighbours, including the sexy Yoga Girl. One night Yoga, Girl has an unwanted visitor and Leo has to decide whether or not to leave the apartment.

Can you think of anymore?

Next week, Psycho.

3 comments :

  1. I can't imagine Jimmy Stewart in a role like that.

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  2. I love Rear Window! It's my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie. And I loved "The 'Burbs." I haven't thought about that movie in years, but I watch it every time it's on TV. It's hilarious. People don't talk about "The Birds" very often, but I'm a big fan of that Hitchcock movie too.

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  3. This really is a great movie! My husband never watched any old classics until he married me and this is the first one I made him watch. He ended up loving it. :-)

    And isn't it true that those of us who live in neighborhoods watch each other!? My husband and I have seen "suspicious" activity from 2 of our neighbors and I can't help but think of Rear Window! We make up stories about what could be going on...and just hope they aren't true!

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