Directed by Alfred ‘the awesome’ Hitchcock
Most of us know Alfred Hitchcock for movies of his which had been remade in India a million times. ‘North by Northwest’ for instance had been an inspiration for a ton of Indian movies.
Written for the screen by John M Hayes
May be it is because of the frequent adaptations of Hitchcock movies by Indian film makers that his movies don’t seem all that impressive to the Indian movie guy.
But there have been certain movies of his which nobody could dare to re-do or even adapt. One such unusually spectacular venture of his was ‘Rear Window’.
The movie’s about a photographer – L.B. Jefferies a.k.a James (James Stewart), his fractured leg, the window opposite his and what happened there. James is stuck at his place for at least fifteen days because of his fracture. Being a photographer and also because of being bored he starts sleuthing on his neighbors.
His neighbors include a beautiful dancer (mostly semi naked), a songwriter and his group of friends and the plot’s main but hardly seen characters – the husband and the ill wife right opposite his rear window. Once James observes the husband making a lot of rounds in and out of the apartment with a briefcase in the middle of the night. From the next day James sees that there is something fishy about the wife who usually is bed ridden.
James suspects a murder and tells about it to his girl friend (Grace Kelly) and the every day nurse who comes to fix him up. They just shed it off saying he’s being over suspicious about the whole issue. However they gradually realize that there is something strange about the neighbor.
That’s the basic plot and find out what happens next yourself.
Those of you not familiar with the Hitchcock screenplay style, I’ll give you guys a heads up. The Hitchcock screenplay never hides the suspense. The audiences always know what’s happening on screen but the characters of the movie are the people ‘in the suspense’. Yes, we clearly conclude that the wife is killed 20 minutes into the movie, but, the protagonist and the characters are not really sure.
Hitchcock often said that “what happened is not the issue of suspense, but, what is gonna happen and how it’s gonna end is the real suspense”, well that’s a Hitchcock quote put in my own way.
For the entire running time of the movie the camera never leaves James’s apartment, not even for a single second. What you see on screen is what James sees. The establishing of the neighbor characters is super brainy. Nobody gets to hear what they say, but, you know exactly who they are and what they do. Movies with straight forward narration about the characters don’t have such clarity of characterization.
The movie even with its experimental camera work of never leaving the room is still a super fast stirring Hitchcock ride. This is what you label as pATh BreaKinG.