Rear Window is an American mystery thriller film that was released in 1954. It was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred James Stewart and Grace Kelly.
The screenwriter for the film was John Michael Hayes, who based it on Cornell Wollrichs’ 1942 short story, It Had to Be Murder.
The film was initially released by Paramount Pictures and was first screened on September 1, 1954, at the Venice Film festival with a great response from both critics and the audience.
Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called the film a “tense and exciting exercise,” deeming Hitchcock as a director who works in such a way as to deliver a maximum build-up to the punch.
It’s seen as a film that portrays the loneliness of city life that ultimately leads to the impulses of morbid curiosity, often from a position of perpetual boredom.
The film stars James Stewart as L.B “Jeff” Jefferies, Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, and Raymond Burr, with each of them bringing something to the table in this exciting thriller.
The movie’s story begins with a photographer who had been recently injured and confined to a wheelchair. He believes he’s witnessed a murder, so he starts watching the occupants of neighboring houses from his small apartment and through his camera lens.
The movie does well to portray the driving force behind Jeff’s interest in the neighbor’s actions. As he struggles to overcome his noncommittal feelings for his model fiancee, it’s clear his mind searches for a distraction.
The film is considered one of Albert Hitchcock’s greatest thrillers, with the first twenty minutes being exceptionally well received by critics. Despite the reviews, the film received four nominations but won no Academy Awards.
It was nominated for Best Director, Screenplay, Color Cinematography, and Sound Recording. Grace Kelly would go on to win an Oscar in the same year for her role in The Country Girl.
James Stewart had already starred in a previous film for Hitchcock and would go on to star in the future films, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958)
The movie was ranked at number 42 on the American Film Institute’s 100 years, 100 movies list and came in at number 48 on the 10th-anniversary edition.
In 1997 it was added to the United States Film Registry in the Library of Congress as being culturally and significantly significant.
Alfred Hitchcock produced a masterpiece with Rear Window, and many agreed it should have won many more Academy Awards. It has remained a timeless classic over the years, just as much as Hitchcock himself.