Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rear Window

I happen to know that at 6:15 a day ago, five people were standing in line at the Cineplex on Eglinton for the 7:00 showing of Hitchcock's Rear Window.  I happen to know, furthermore, that thirty minutes later no one else had arrived. Soon another 50-60 streamed in, though "streamed" wouldn't do for the over-70s--yours truly, at 64, a young buck in this crowd. 
None of us could see. Everyone who entered suffered through a spell of stops, gropes, and wobbles before eventually carrying on, often on the arm of a companion. Three minutes later they were up again, the over-70s, saying, "At my age, I'd better go now."
The movie itself was a hit with this audience. It's a fabulous piece of cinema, for one thing, and its brilliant screenplay (by John Michael Hayes) appeals in part to a certain courtliness familiar to anyone who was an adult in the 1950s.
Something else about Hitchcock. I noticed when my kids were little that Hitchcock films, with the exception of Psycho and The Birds, which I never showed them, held their attention so crisply. Why? Because he was such a master storyteller, his camera always in the right spot to deliver the goods, with or without dialogue. View the first few minutes of Rear Window, for instance.
Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, her Edith Head gowns, Thelma Ritter, Wendell Corey, a Franz Waxman jazz-flavoured score--this is one of the greatest films ever.


Nathan Frank said...

My brother is a cinema nerd and sat me down when I was 15 or 16 to watch Rear Window. I told him If I wasn't entertained within 10 minutes I was walking out. I was engrossed. It ended up being one of my favourite films.

Gerald Hill said...

And always worth another look . . .