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February 16, 2005

Rear Window

1954.USA.Rear Window

4.0 / 4.0

Writing anything about Rear Window that’s not an academic paper seems pointless. It’s the Hitch film in which Entertainment (North by Northwest), Intellect (Marnie) and Art (Vertigo) collide in an explosion of filmic goodness. Taken as a film about watching films, with Jeff taking the role of the spectator, immobile, in a dark room, watching a screen, Rear Window is as much a film essay as anything Godard’s put out. As a commentary on gender roles, with the feminized Jeff trying to reaffirm his masculinity in the constant danger of the “perfect” Lisa, the film has been dissected to shreds by Feminist critics. Then there’s the whole Psychoanalytic angle, with Jeff’s fears and desires projected onto the windows of his neighbours. Miss Lonelyheart being the embodiment of eternal loneliness, the Newlyweds of marital hell, the Songwriter of artistic frustration, and Thorwald of the murderous impulse that, we're afraid, resides in us all. So what is there really to say about Rear Window? It’s the best film Hitchcock made. And one of the best ever made, at any time, by anyone, anywhere.

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