-12B eMichigan Daily - We~nd, etc. Magazine - Thurs~y, February 17, 2000
The Michigan Dail}- Weekend, etc.
Continued from Page 5B
themselves, that is.
After that, they're complicit in Jeff's
shttle play-act, working as his legs, help-
ing him with the "investigation." The
mystery is the least fascinating part of
the story, though; if "Vertigo" is
Hitchcock's ode to identity and obses-
sion, then "Rear Window" is his ode to
the fine art not of moviemaking but of
It starts with the opening credits,
which play over Jeff's window as if it
were a screen. And it continues with
,Hitchcock's shooting style, in which all
shots -- save a necessary few at the end
when Lisa and Stella go on the prowl -
occur from a perspective clearly
anchored in the apartment, just as the
audience is rooted to their seats.
Jeff is obsessed with watching,
obsering, analyzing: He makes deduc-
tions, sure, but his primary role is that of
silent observer as he imagines scenarios
for his neighbors. Even his role before
his accident, his photographic career,
pegs him as a watcher. He can't help
himself any more than we can help our-
selves from shelling out $7.50 to watch
But let's ignore these heady, self-
reflexive themes for a moment. Let's
instead concentrate on what the consum-
mate director gives, us without requiring
any thought or participation. It is just a
moment, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot.
In the waning daylight that filters into
his apartment, Lisa Carol Fremont, so
refined, so calm and cool, so impossibly
beautiful it's enough to make you weep
at just the thought of her, leans forward
over the wheelchair-captive Jeff. And she
kisses him, grazes his lips so lightly that
Jeff wonders if it isn't a dream he's hav-
ing, if this woman isn't a fantasy from
which he'll wake up. "Who are you?" he
asks, caught somewhere between sleep
and awake. In a movie caught in the real-
ity of our interactions and silent observa-
tions of others, this is an enchanted
moment. When it's gone, you wonder if
you too didn't imagine it.
You didn't, although you will later
after all other memory of the film fades.
You'll think about it and your heart will
skip a beat. You'll think about it and
you'll forget about every crappy schlock-
fest that captured the box office last year,
last decade, last century. You'll think
about it and understand "timeless" and
"classic" and every other superlative
heaped on this film over the years. In that
one moment, Hitchcock, the true master
of suspense, transcends even himself.
There is an entire relationship - and an
entire lifetime - in that magical moment.
"Rear Window" is a movie that people
can spend an entire lifetime trying to
make, or an entire lifetime trying to find.
Make it a part of your life, too.
etc From the Vault - Alfred Hitchcock
Master of suspense's restored 'Window'
By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
I can't remember the first time I saw
"Rear Window." I can't remember the
last time I saw it, either. The viewings
all run into one another to the point
where all I can remember is the movie
itself, timeless and classic in all the
ways we've grown to assign the phrase
"a timeless classic."
That's why "Rear Window" is one
of the very best in a whole slew of
bests in Alfred Hitchcock's distin-
guished directorial career - that's
why "Rear Window" is one of the very
best, period, over the lifetime of an art
form. It doesn't depend on certain
viewing conditions or a confluence of
events in our real lives to achieve its
greatness. It simply has it. End of
Just as they restored Hitchcock's
"Vertigo" in 1996, veteran restoration
team Robert Harris and James Katz
have lavished the same attention on
his other most universally recognized
opus. "Rear Window" may even be a
more important film work, given its
central themes of watching and creat-
ing fictions and their significance for
images seen on a screen.
The story of "Rear Window" is sim-
ple and contained, while its thematic
content is anything but. Photographer
L. B. Jefferies (James Stewart,
Hitchcock's noble surrogate in four of
his films) 'ias a broken leg, cast and
all. He is trapped in his sweltering
apartment in the dog days
York City summer. A borr
he watches all those around
his neighbors as a silent soy
keep his mind occupied.
His girlfriend, fashion
songbird Lisa Fremont (Gi
divinity bottled and made
tises him for his voyeurisrr
she gets a look through his
she too is spellbound. His s
earth nurse, Stella (Theln
takes a more working clas
Cour esy o' Paramount Pctures
This magic moment: Grace Kelly and James Stewart in "Rear Window."
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