Long before the time of MTV's "Real World" and Internet web cams, Hollywoods master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock exposed Americans to its eager interest in voyeurism. "Rear Window", was originally released with 300 prints in 1954. And unless you were one of those original filmgoers, chances are you've only ever experienced a washed out version of this Hitchcock thriller. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Universal Studio's restoration department, they've returned "Rear Window" to its full colorful luster and released it into theatres, just as Hitch intended us to see it.
"Rear Window" accounts the story of adventurous field photographer L.B. Jefferies played by the everyman of the day Jimmy Stewart. Jefferies has been confined to a wheel chair with a broken leg and o pass the time, has developed quite an appetite for watching the lives of his neighbors that share the courtyard of his New York City apartment. By simply sharing what Stewart sees, Hitchcock gets the audience to participate in the voyeuristic addiction of following the stories of Stewart's unknowing neighbors.
Amongst the tales, there's Miss torso whose daily full body aerobic workouts exercise any pair of wandering eyes, and Miss Lonelyheart who fantasizes about entertaining dream men at her empty dinner table, and even a depressed songwriter trying everything to stir his creative pot. But it's the unhappy marriage directly across from him that leads Stewart to draw murderous conclusions.
Peeping isn't the only thing occupying Jimmy Stewarts mind, but he does his best to share it with the supporting cast that visit his apartment. One of who is city starlet Lisa Fremont played by the beautiful Grace Kelly. Stewart seems like a fool for being more concerned with his neighborhood and resisting Grace Kellys' charms, but its not long before Kelly grabs the binoculars herself and starts spreading opinions for what's going on next door.
Fans of "Rear Window" will see the improvements of the restoration right away. The color enhancements help convey the changing mood in this single set storyline. We feel the hot heat of the red summer sun and shudder with the chill of the cold gray rain that fills Stewarts apartment as he spies his neighbor Raymond Burr playing Mr. Lars Thorwald carry out his sinister plans in the early morning rain.
If you only ever saw this on video or happened to catch the mis-colored print re-release in the late eighties, this current run of "Rear Window" is a must see. And for those of you uninitiated, go out to the theatres, sit back and share a master's vision of how thrilling a "Rear Window" can be.
© 2002 - Purple - Air Date: 2/2/00
USA - 1954