Written by Sean Rogers
USA, 1954. 115 min. Paramount. Cast: Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter with Raymond Burr; Music: Franz Waxman; Cinematography: Robert Burks; Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock; Based on a Story by: Cornell Woolrich; Written by: John Michael Hayes; Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Rear Window was Alfred Hitchcockâ€™s first film at Paramount following a stint at Warner Brothers that had ended only months prior with the 3-D chamber piece Dial M for Murder. For this new project, the director returned not only to Dialâ€™s confined setting and control over its viewersâ€™ vision, but also to its female lead, Grace Kelly. Some few years removed from both her careerâ€™s commencement and its premature end, and scant months away from an Oscar win, the future princess would share the screen with Hollywoodâ€™s favorite everyman, Jimmy Stewart. While Kellyâ€™s star was about to go supernova, Stewartâ€™s had been shining more darkly since his return from the war. We remember him now, of course, for his role as the thwarted, suicidal George Bailey, but he further complicated his onscreen persona in those years through collaborations with Anthony Mann â€“ in whose westerns he played troubled, vulnerable, and sometimes quite bitter heroes â€“ and Hitchcock. In Rope, Hitchcockâ€™s first picture with both Stewart and Warners, and another chamber drama concerned with visual tricks (the film seems to be one continuous take), the actor portrays an intellectual who espouses the righteousness of murder. Few other Hollywood stars could depict such moral confusion so convincingly and so genially.