Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Written by: John Michael Hayes
Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr
This movie is my favourite movie of all time and a cinematic classic for a reason. You may not have seen it but you’ve probably seen it referenced plenty of times in other shows, like in The Simpsons, when Bart breaks his leg and is confined to his room with a telescope suspecting Ned Flanders of a heinous murder.
This movie perfectly showcases the ability of director Alfred Hitchcock to build suspense while using one location and limited actors with speaking roles. While this may seem like a tedious set-up, Hitchcock entertains the viewer by connecting with the protagonist, L.B Jeffries (James Stewart), a wheel-chair bound photographer who suspects his neighbour of killing his wife. The ‘did he, or didn’t he’ is always on the viewer’s mind, with circumstantial evidence teasing the audience but never quite answering the question.
While Jeffries is wheel-chair bound and thus confined to his small apartment, he gets to looking out of his window and into the apartment block he lives in, and into the windows of his neighbours. These characters’ sub-stories give the movie another dimension. Some of these character include; Miss Torso, the very popular dancer who has a penchant for dancing around in her underwear, Miss Lonelyhearts, the single woman unlucky in love on the brink of suicide, married couples all at different stages of wedded ‘bliss’, a composer/pianist, and of course the focus of Jeffries’ attention, Lars Thorwald, a travelling salesman with a ill and bedridden nagging wife.
Of course Jeffries isn’t just musing to himself about his suspicions on the suspected wife killer, he shares these thoughts with his girlfriend Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), his insurance company nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) and his friend Tom Doyle (Wendell Corey) a New York City detective. All three doubt Jeffries but with each suspicious observation of Thorwald, his friends, like the audience, also begin questioning the neighbour from across the way.
I won’t give away what happens, because I want as many people to watch this movie and love it like I do, but it’s a classic Hitchcock film. It’s full of suspense with the backdrop of an apartment complex during summer in New York and an array of interesting characters that really takes the joy of people watching and being nosy to the next level.