Rear Window is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie for many reasons. Edith Head’s gorgeous costumes for one! I want every single outfit Grace Kelly wears in the movie. Secondly, who hasn’t looked out their window at their neighbor’s houses and wondered what might really be going on behind the curtains. We have all heard of the well mannered neighbor that turns out to be crazy. Cornell Woolrich wrote the clever short story and John Michael Hayes adapted it for the Rear Window screenplay. But the main reason I love Rear Window is the set!
It feels some what like a stage set, since the viewer is pretty much stuck in the room with Jimmy Stewart and his broken leg. But his little NYC bachelor pad is only the back drop for all the mischief happening outside his window. Sam Corner and Ray Moyer have done a brilliant job of Set Decoration. I can not imagine how hard it must have been to set up the apartments (with individual personality and function) when they would only be viewed from the outside.
Alfred Hitchcock uses the set decoration of Jimmy Stewart’s apartment in the opening shots to give the audience a whole lot of backstory information: smashed camera, photo of car crash, other photos showing the dangerous situations he has photographed, objects he has picked up along his travels, a negative of a portrait he took of Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), and then the final image as printed on a stack of fashion magazines. What a set up! If you have not seen Rear Window, I hope this perks your interest, and if you have seen it, hope it makes you want to watch it again.