Cine-snoots? Is it ridiculous to think it's a ripoff to buy a ticket to see something projected in the exact same format you could watch at home for free?
A quick read through and all I saw was Shia LaBeouf and the word "screamer."
And I thought, "If only...."
I should be ashamed of myself.
But really, "Rear Window" is all around us all of a sudden. It's at Central Cinema, it was the Halloween feature here on the SU campus, and CBUT in Vancouver had it on recently as a late show. The movie, along with "Rope," "Vertigo," and "The Trouble with Harry," was tied up in red tape with the Hitchcock estate and out of view for almost twenty years. It was such a joy to see it again when it was re-released theatrically in the early '80s after being out of sight for so long.
The two leads are at once smart and adorable. Wendell Corey plays the straight man. And Thelma Ritter, who is an acting idol of mine - they don't get any better, provides the wisecracks like the pro she was. This was one of Raymond Burr's early forays into being the heavy. Later, of course, he was the hero on TV's "Perry Mason" and "Ironside." Here, he's a lumbering, grey, middle-aged man who may or may not have issues with his wife. He was only 37 when the film was made.
I won't even get into Hitch's commentary on voyeurism and social stereotypes, but he has a lot to say about both. It's obvious he had it bad for Grace Kelly. No one was ever shot more lovingly.
Years ago I met a priest who had the exact same accent as Grace Kelly. I had always assumed she affected it as part of her Hollywood persona, but in reality it is one of those wierd micro-regional accents that one used to find here and there on the East coast.
The pairing of her with Jimmy Stewart creates an archetypal collision between the somewhat goofy somewhat stylish American original male with the scion of wealth and as a female the bearer of old american traditions. She is all grace and style and beauty, he is pluck, strength of will and strong sense of fairness or fair play.
Jimmy Stewart somehow found his way into the two most interesting filmic representations of the development of the post war American pysche: Anthony Man's westerns, and Hitchcock's domestic psycho-dramas.
Consequently watching Rear Window and The Man From Laramie provide some of the best keys for decoding the psychic baggage we still carry around from that era, thanks to our parents' generally unreflective acceptance of the dominant paradigms of domstic order.
For another less serious bit of film comparison watch the closups in Rear Window and then watch the closeups in Howard Hughes's The Outlaw. It's a great way to see how getting slight details wrong makes the difference between art and camp.
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