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135 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rear Window---Newly Restored DVD!!!!
The last few years have seen some classic films that have been given back their old lustre via restoration, including such films as, My Fair Lady, Vertigo, Lawrence Of Arabia to name just a few. These films as well as this film have been restored by the restoration mavericks Robert A. Harris, and James Katz.
I must say after seeing an advance copy of this film that...
Published on February 20, 2001 by G. Stanford

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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT Restored Properly....
I am a serious collector and when I read these reviews about this special edition "Newly Restored" Hitchcock masterpiece I had to have it. Sadly If you mean just tweeking the colors to call it fully restored then it's ok. But this restoration missed the dust and dirt particles that appear through-out this whole movie. White, black dirt all over this thing. Although the...
Published on July 14, 2009 by M. DelaPena


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film. But Why Letterbox?, March 6, 2004
By 
F. Adcock (Silsbee, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rear Window (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
This film was always one of Hitchcock's finest. There is nothing I could add to what has been said before in praise.
However, I question why the film was letterboxed when the original movie was shot with a ratio of 1.33:1 (or 4:3). Paramount Pictures, in 1954, had not released anything in Vista Vision, their wide screen answer to Cinemascope. "White Christmas" would be the first to be released later that year in the new process.
After comparing the new DVD to my 1984 VHS tape, I noticed some striking discrepancies. The most obvious were the shots when James Stewart looked through his camera viewfinder. What he, and we, saw was a complete circle, with the image contained within the circle. On the DVD, this circle is cropped at the top and bottom. Why?
Also, during the DVD documentary on how the film was restored, a technician is seen holding the actual film. It plainly shows the movie was shot in the common ratio of 1.33:1. When before and after comparisons are shown, one can clearly see extra image at the top and bottom of the before shot. Again, why letterbox?
For such a great film, my criticisms may seem of low importance. I would just rather not see cropping like this happen to other restorations of great classics in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TERRIFIC HITCHCOCK THRILLER..., August 17, 2005
This is a superlative film of suspense. It is a tribute to the direction of Alfred Hitchcock that one is never bored watching this film, though it entirely takes place within the confines of a claustrophobic New York Greenwich Village apartment, the windows of the neighbors across the way, and a courtyard that separates the buildings.

Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) is recovering from an accident that occurred while on assignment. Encased in a cast covering his left leg and hip, Jeff is pretty much immobilized and temporarily confined to a wheel chair. Despite regular visits by his nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), and his beautiful, sophisticated girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly), Jeff is chafing at his confinement. Bored stiff, he does what he does best. He peers at those around him from his window. Jeff finds the lives of his neighbors both immensely interesting and amusing. He watches them through their windows and in the courtyard, enhancing his experience with binoculars and the zoom lens of his camera. Jeff draws inferences and conclusions about them, based upon his own experiences with human behavior.

This interest intensifies and takes a strange turn, when he believes one of them, Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), may have committed a grisly murder, killing off his invalid wife, Anna. Though Jeff never actually sees the murder, what he does see is its aftermath and some peculiar behavior that puzzles him. Putting two and two together, he becomes absolutely convinced that his neighbor across the way has done away with his invalid wife. Jeff then informally involves his friend, Lt. Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey) of the New York City Police Department, who initially scoffs at Jeff's assessment, though he does a cursory check . With Lisa and Stella also becoming fascinated by the strange behavior of Lars Thorwald, their interest and amateur sleuthing propels the film to an exciting climax.

Jimmy Stewart is terrific as the housebound voyeur, drawing the viewer in with him. One finds oneself peering along with him into the lives of those around him. Grace Kelly is stunningly beautiful as Jeff's girlfriend Lisa, with whom Jeff is finding it difficult to make a commitment. It is interesting that as Jeff gets more intimately engrossed in his neighbors' affairs, his intimacy with Lisa seems to grow, drawing them closer together. Thelma Ritter is funny and sassy as the tough talking, no nonsense nurse. Raymond Burr, looking eerily as he would half a century later, is well cast as the neighbor whose wife got on his nerves. Wendell Corey is very good as the congenial, though jaded, detective.

All in all, this is a terrific film that clearly shows the mastery and deft direction of the legendary Hitchcock. With a well written script and a stellar cast, this is a film that is well worth having in one's personal collection. Bravo!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect movie by the Perfect director!, August 11, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Rear Window [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a great film and this is the only Hitchcock film that I don't have. I have at least 40 Hitchcock films and this is the only one! PLEASE release it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Moose Hole - It Had to be Murder, April 11, 2006
This review is from: Rear Window (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Based on the Cornell Woolrich short story `It Had to be Murder' (penned under the name William Irish), director Alfred Hitchcock takes his long-time obsession with sexual voyeurism to an entirely new level. This time it revolves around a man left impotent, so-to-speak, from an accident (shown in the beginning in a photo from a car accident at a race track) which has left his leg broken and confines him to a wheelchair. The man's sole source of amusement and pleasure during the day (and occasionally in the evening) is intruding on his neighbors' privacy from the comfort of his apartment window and observing their daily lives. There are three frames in which the brilliant cinematography of the film is shaped. The first comes from the point-of-view of Mr. Hitchcock's motion-picture camera. The second is from Stewart's binoculars (only briefly) and his high-powered telephoto lens (meant of course to be sexually suggestive). And the third is straight from the window itself. Nearly every shot in Rear Window, with the exception of a few, are seen entirely from the point-of-view of James Stewart's character, Jeff. While confined in this solitary apartment building, the audience sees exactly what he sees; nothing more and nothing less. The audience is placed in the same emotional element as Jefferies, whether it is frustration, excitement, or fear. We are craning our necks just as he is to get even the tiniest glimpse of what we assume is taking place inside Thorwald's apartment - murder.

Yet at the same time we the audience struggle with ourselves. We are all fully aware that human beings are not infallible and therefore are easily susceptible to jumping to conclusion for whatever reasons or motives, whether it stems from prejudice, ignorance, or something else entirely. This makes Lars Thorwald a sympathetic villain in a way. Ironically, Jefferies who jumps to the conclusion that Thorwald is guilty of murdering his own wife without any circumstantial evidence to prove it cautions Detective Doyle "Careful, Tom", as he glances at the contents of Lisa's suitcase which contains pink lingerie as if to suggest that she will staying the night at his place. All the same however we are still left with a sense of uneasiness. The scene in which Lars confronts Lisa and physically assaults her in his apartment before the police arrive on the scene is the precise moment which proves his guilt to us. Some may suggest rather that it is the death of the `dog who knew too much' but there was no direct proof he committed this violent crime, though audiences are meant to believe he did.

Alfred Hitchcock brings up through the course of the film the analytical topic of `rear window ethics'. Is it right for a man or woman to spy on one's neighbor even if it turns out that the person is indeed guilt of murder? Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa, brings up this exact argument just when it seems as though their little investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Thorwald has hit a dead-end. Then, moments later, a woman's scream is heard outside. The little dog which belonged to the couple living on the fire escape is found dead with its neck broken as if strangled. The distraught woman who owned the dog cries out, ""Which one of you did it? Which one of you killed my dog? You don't know the meaning of the word 'neighbor.' Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies, but none of you do", as if to directly counter Lisa's argument a few minutes earlier.

Nearly as entertaining and enthralling as the murder mystery which ultimately shapes the main course of the picture, the distinctive subplots of the assorted neighbors surrounding L.B. Jefferies's apartment building stands as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finer touches in Rear Window. The set itself is simply breathtaking. An impressive feat of engineering and filmmaking, it was built entirely within the confines of a Paramount studio soundstage with several of the apartments themselves fully furnished. Georgine Darcy, for example, who plays the exquisitely sensual Miss Torso, used her apartment as if it were her real home, relaxing in between takes. Her character of course was the most blatant examples in this Rear Window of Hitchcock willfully taunting the Production Code, although there were plenty more besides this one background character. The director nonetheless enjoyed nearly every minute of it. In order to get around the complication of filming a leering depiction of Miss Torso, Hitchcock shot her scenes in three ways - one topless, one with her wearing white undergarments, and the other with her wearing black undergarments. Playing all three versions off the Production Code, he was able to keep intact all the scenes he intended for her by making it appear as though one version was less sexually suggestive then the other two.

In addition to Miss Torso, there is one scene in particular in which Lisa proposes to Jeff that she be allowed to spend the night in his apartment is oozing with double entendres. While proving to him that she can live out a suitcase like he can she retorts, "I'll bet yours isn't this small?" And as she exposes the contents of her little suitcase, "Compact, but, uh, ample enough", pink lingerie is revealed. The daunting eloquence of Grace Kelly makes this scene all the more erotically charged.

Two subplots which ultimately converge, to quote the insurance nurse Stella, like `two taxis on Broadway' and shift from agonizing heartbreak to emotional euphoria are those of the Composer and Miss Lonelyheart. Miss Lonelyheart's introduction is truly lamentable with her enacting a scene in which a gentlemen caller pays her a visit, complete with fine wine for toasting, while in the distance Jefferies raises a glass of wine toasting her as Lisa prepares an intimate dinner in the background. This of course is all perfectly ironic, demonstrating Jefferies's emotional distance from Lisa and his inability to commit to her, choosing instead to immerse himself in his `rear window' world as he has done for the past six weeks. Adding to the paradox, Bing Crosby's `To See You Is To Love You' plays in the distance as Miss Lonelyheart snaps back to reality, realizes she is alone, and buries her head in her arms and weeps.

The next we see of both the Composer and Miss Lonelyheart, alcohol is heavily involved (the Composer staggers into his apartment drunk and Miss Lonelyheart takes several stiff drinks before leaving her apartment searching for male company). In yet another slight tinge of irony, Lisa starring out the window of the apartment listening to a tune on the wind says, "Where does a man get inspiration to write a song like that?" The Composer is playing the tune called `Mona Lisa' just as Miss Lonelyheart is sexually assaulted by a man who she proceeds to toss out of her apartment and then collapses on her couch weeping. The scene and tune itself can be interpreted two ways - for the Composer it is instantly identified with the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci (considered his muse) while for Miss Lonelyheart it is linked with the lyrics of the Nate King Cole song of the same name which references sexual assault.

Her suicide attempt (complete with suicide note, Bible, and an overdose of sleeping pills) at the precise moment Jefferies is calling Thorwald's apartment to warn Lisa of his impending return make Jefferies next move (should he call the police in order to stop Miss Lonelyheart from killing herself or try and save the woman he supposedly loves by warning her of Lars Thornwald's return to the apartment) all the more intense. It culminates with Miss Not-So-Lonelyheart paying the Composer a visit whose song he has been composing all this time and what ultimately stopped her from taking her own life.

Of course there is nothing humorous about a cute little dog having its neck broken but if one could find some amusement in this scene then it would have to be Lisa's line upon realizing that the dog was digging up something in Thornwald's garden, "Maybe he knew too much". This of course is a jab at Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Much (Stewart in interviews referred to the little pup as `The Dog Who Knew Too Much), a remake of which he was currently working on to start James Stewart.

As Jefferies explains to Stella, his insurance nurse, he's not ready for marriage and that Lisa, his girlfriend, is too `Park Avenue' for his lifestyle, as he puts it a `camera bum who never has more than a week's salary in the bank', he stares into an apartment where a newlywed couple has just moved. From this moment on until the end of the film, every time Jefferies looks toward their apartment window either the shades are closed or the husband in his underwear sticks his head outside to get a breath of fresh air only to be called back by his sexually unquenchable newlywed wife. The irony of this couple is that when the husband announces to his newlywed wife at the end of the film that he is quitting his job, the honeymoon is officially over, both literally and figuratively, leaving her to exclaim to him, "But if you'd told me you quit your job, we wouldn't have gotten married". In contrast to the relationship between Jefferies and Lisa, it leaves their future together rather open ended, especially if these two lovebirds are already having marital troubles.

Whether or not Jefferies and Lisa wind up together and the rest of their neighbors find some sort of happiness is entirely irrelevant. Hitchcock believed (or so he said in interviews) that the characters and the story ended when the film ended. What is for certain however is the brilliance of this film. The performances are top-notch (easily the best in Grace Kelly's sadly short-lived film career and one of the best in James Stewart's lengthy career as an actor), the script is intricately woven with meaningful subplots and wrought with tension and excitement, and director Alfred Hitchcock is at the top of his game. You couldn't ask for anything more. Rear Window is without a doubt Alfred Hitchcock's best motion picture of his career, if not the best of the 1950s.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checking Out a Murder with Hitchcock, April 19, 2001
By 
Edward (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rear Window [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A daredevil confined to a wheelchair is the concept of Alfred Hitchcock's comedy-mystery "Rear Window", a man of action so bored with his confinement that he begins spying on the neighbors he can see across his Greenwich Village courtyard: the frustrated composer,the "interpretative dancer", the newlyweds, the desperately lonely spinster ... and the bickering couple. The wife suddenly disappears. Has she been murdered? L.B. Jeffries thinks so, and he convinces his fiancée Lisa (Grace Kelly) and the insurance company nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) who visits him every day. (Jeffries, a professional photographer, has been temporarily disabled in an accident.) This set-up is perfect for Hitchcock, who loved tense situations in close quarters ("Life Boat", "Rope"), and who was in top form when he directed this masterpiece of entertainment in 1954. (There was a made-for-TV remake a few years back; according to... reviewers, it's pretty awful.) James Stewart was one of Hollywood's most popular personalities, but he was often mis-cast. He was pushing fifty when he played the 25-year old Lindbergh in"The Spirit of St Louis". Similarly, in "Rear Window" he's too mature for the lead. The part just weeps for William Holden. Stewart even takes his shirt off in a couple of scenes, revealing a pale, thin physique. The idea that Grace Kelly would travel all the way down from the East Sixties to Greenwich Village to spend the evening with him is a little ... well,unbelievable. Miss Kelly is almost as seductive here as she was in her next Hitchcock "To Catch a Thief".The Master was obviously infatuated -- but, then, who wasn't? She also had a droll sense of humor: the way she pronounces "weird" is priceless. Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey give witty support. Raymond Burr, just a couple of years away from playing the most famous of fictional lawyers, is quite creepy as the killer Thorwald. The sound track is a mixed marvel of car traffic, distant voices, and snatches of music; it sounds great with stereophonic ear phones. About the only real complaint in John Michael Hayes' screenplay that the pragmatic might bring up: Doesn't Jeffries ever LOCK his door?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last! Fit for a collector!, December 3, 2000
By 
Charlie Peterson (Minneapolis, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rear Window (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Finally, "Rear Window" has made it onto DVD! The 1954 suspense classic, shot almost entirely in one room, and starring a cast with panache and style to spare, has long remained on Amazon's list of Most Requested DVDs, as well as the "most wanted" list of many film lovers, after a long stay in the "out-of-print" category. But Universal comes through!
"Rear Window", to a certain degree, moves at a languid pace, not unlike the steamy weather conditions in which it takes place. However, the witty and concise dialogue, matched with the murder that occurs across the courtyard (the evidence of which is pieced together by Stewart, Kelly, and Thelma Ritter...and what's a Hitchcock movie without somebody getting whacked?), and interesting supporting characters like Wendell Corey as the skeptical Lt. Doyle; a pre-Perry-Mason Raymond Burr; and Ross Bagdasarian, the voice behind Alvin and the Chipmunks(!)--it all comes together in a fascinating hybrid that has remained a landmark classic for almost 50 years.
Like "North By Northwest", "Vertigo", and "Psycho", all of which have preceded this movie on DVD, "Rear Window" appears to have some intriguing special features--a nice touch, especially considering the movie's age, and that none of the stars are with us any longer. The archival and historical additions make the DVD not only a pleasurable viewing experience, but also a study and an insight into Hitchcock's brilliance.
Prepare to be re-immersed (at long last!) in a Hitchcock masterpiece. Pretty much....perfect. Don't miss this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We've become a race of Peeping Toms", October 8, 2008
Every film is an artifact of its era and "Rear Window" is no different so those expecting slam bang action like they see in "The Matrix" should look elsewhere. All of that said, "Rear Window" still stands tall as a film classic because of the themes, artistry of Hitchcock, the performances and the witty dialogue that we hear in the film. Unseen except for rare TV performances in the early 60's and rare revival house showings, "Rear Window" looks extremely good in its DVD presentation although clearly no complete restoration was done here like was done for "Vertigo" (but "Rear Window" wasn't in as bad a shape as "Vertigo" either). This edition looks better than the previous DVD (although it should be noted it's the same transfer as what was in the Hitchcock boxed set release four years ago)with a nice anamorphic transfer. Some people seem to think that film grain is a bad thing--it's not it's just how the film looks and "Rear Window" is no exception. Expecting this to look like a film produced in 2008 isn't realistic and it won't--but it still looks darn good.

Extras are as follows: The extras that came with the boxed set as well as those from the previous single DVD release have been ported over to this release as well. We get two new delicious extras--a theme appropriate episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" with the Hitchcock directed episode ""Mr. Blanchard's Secret" and also excerpts from the interview Traffaut did with Hitchcock for his book in the early 60's.

Other extras: Audio commentary by author John Falwell, "Rear Window Ethics", Interview with Writer John Michael Hayes", "Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of the Master", "Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock", production notes, theatrical trailers, photo gallery, audio interview excerpts from Truffaut's interviews with Hitchcock,

A plot synopsis is below for those intereested:

Spying through a glass darkly (his camera lens), L.B. Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart) believes a neighbor (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. His evidence is circumstanial at best and the wheelchair bound photographer has to convince his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly)of the crime. In the process he puts his friends in harm's way. Hitch laces his film with more than a touch of humor and irony pulling this thriller together as it's L.B.'s peeping that reveals the ugly underneath--revealing something unsavory about himself as well without him truly realizing it.

Hitchcock manages to do more with less than just about any director out there. Using a single soundstage, a small cast and the witty script by John Michael Hayes, Hitchcock crafts one of his classic films. "Rear Window" has aged yes but it looks, sounds and plays remarkably well fifty four years after it's original theatrical release. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, Satisfying, Profound, and Comedic, February 23, 2001
By 
This review is from: Rear Window [VHS] (VHS Tape)
REAR WINDOW is probably the perfect susense-mystery. Hitchcock includes everything in this very classy thriller with a involving romance between two compelling and enduring actors. With humor, style, directing, script, visuals, and thrills, this one leaves you with such a satisfying feeling that it is impossible not to smile- and think about the thought-provoking visuals and themes. Jimmy Stewart plays a man who is restricted to staying in his apartment due to being in a wheelchair. With a socialite girlfriend(the charming Grace Kelly) and a "wise" physical therapist(a endearing Thelma Ritter), Stewart investigates the strange happenings going on in the apartment across from his. As his interests grow, the trio goes through many hardships to satisfy their curiousness and prove their shocking theory. The movie is absolutely well-paced, the structure and plot/character-development becoming more and more familiar and interesting. Alfred Hitchcock wonderfully directs this film. He had worked with the elegant Grace Kelly once before and had many meetings with her to talk about this film. It was a pleasent surprise when he offered her the job of Lisa in REAR WINDOW. Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense and the avant-garde. Hitchcock was a very influential director, which he showed in this movie. Almost all the shots originate from Stwewart's apartment. Watch for him winding a clock in the musician/composer's apartment approximately half and hour into the movie. The music is done by Franz Waxman, the great composer of SUNSET BLVD., THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, Hitchcock's own REBECCA, and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Story by Cornell Woolrich, script by John Michael Hayes, and costumes by Hitchcock's staple designer, Edith Head. This was one of Hitchcock's most ingenious thrillers. This movie is also one of wit and subtleness. Stella, my favorite character, has two of my favorite lines- "We've become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes sir. How's that for a bit of homespun philosophy?" and "When two people love each other, they come together - WHAM - like two taxis on Broadway." Buy this movie and experience a classic film that overachieves almost every aspect a good drama and comedy suspense should do- will satisfy everyone from the thrill lover to the analyzer(a great film to pick apart like many other Hitchcock films), and from the people who want fun to people who want meaning and depth. Look for themes, but enjoy this Hitchcock vintage classic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, April 14, 2006
By 
A. Vegan (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rear Window (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
I was a bit hesitant to watch this movie because I had seen Vertigo and I really didn't like the casting choice of James Stewart. But I'm on a bit of a Hitchcock thing right now and want to see all of his films. One of the beautiful things about the movie is its superb use of location. The whole movie, bar a couple of brief scenes, is set in the apartment. The obvious twists Mr. Hitchcock could have delivered upon us are never used. Perhaps we would have found out that in fact the neighbor's wife was alive, but that the neighbor was in fact involved in a crime. What was buried in the garden? The stolen jewel perhaps? No, We never really find out, they just elude to the mysterious treasure and we are left to assume it is just another cut up bit of wife. Over all the story wasn't all that bad, it does pull you along, and it keeps you watching. But, admittedly a large part of that is because the viewer is left expecting one of those supposedly famous "Hitchcock Twists", but with a rushed and unimaginative ending, the twist never comes. What intrigued me is that we can witness Stewart's voyeurism, taking the journey with him from curiosity to suspicion to certainty to fear, finally subconsciously delighting in becoming voyeurs ourselves. I actually caught myself sitting up on the edge of my couch near the end of this movie.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visual marvel., February 27, 2001
By 
This review is from: Rear Window (Collector's Edition) (DVD)
Key word being "visual". With this movie, Hitchcock, fantastic bully that he was, forces those of us who consider ourselves "decent" (whatever that means) to confront the nasty voyeur within. Of course, those who cheerfully admit being voyeurs will absolutely adore "Rear Window". In case you haven't seen it, it's about a professional photographer (the ever-solid James Stewart) who's laid up with a broken leg. Out of boredom, he begins peering into other people's apartments across the courtyard, using a comically large camera lens (torpedo would be an apter description). Naturally (for this is a Hitchcock picture), he sees something in one of the apartments which leads him to believe that a certain man (Raymond Burr) has done away with his wife.
The story is top-notch; but what will really impress the movie-lover is the sheer technical brilliance here. Almost the entire film is one long-shot -- and from a first-person point of view, at that. Astonishing. The Master is not known particularly for his visual finesse (I keep thinking of *Suspicion*, with that ridiculous "spider-web" shadow from the window-panes all over the inside of Joan Fontaine's house), but here his concepts are boldly conceived and fortunately executed. Further, the DVD version looks smashing -- obviously supervised by a technical wizard. Indeed, this 46-year-old movie looks sharper and fresher than most movies released last year (think *Gladiator*, with its murky computerized palettes).
*Rear Window* is a masterpiece, natch. But then, if you love movies, you already own it and I'm speaking to the converted.
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Rear Window (Collector's Edition)
Rear Window (Collector's Edition) by Alfred Hitchcock (DVD - 2001)
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