Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

"We've become a race of peeping Toms."

Oh Stella, ya couldn't have said it better. Rear Window, one of my favorite Hitchcock films (I think North by Northwest is my very favorite) is just one of those films that holds true to today's society as much as it did then.

A quickie summary: LB 'Jeff' Jeffries is a photographer who recently broke his leg and is spending his summer cooped up inside his Greenwich Village apartment. Because this was a time before DSL and Wii-Fit, he's spending his time checking up on everyone surrounding his apartment with a pair of binoculars. His sole frequent visitors are his wise-cracking nurse Stella and pretty girlfriend Lisa.

Naturally, when you people-watch long enough, something suspicious happens by the way of murder and Jeff is convinced that his salesman neighbor Lars has killed his wife who prior to her disappearance, was strictly bedridden.

And it's all mystery notes under your door, breaking and entering, and pushing the handicapped out of their wheelchairs after that.

Definitely thrilling and an excellent film to watch especially for the first time.

And there's your obligatory Hitchcock cameo in my very favorite apartment of the piano player.

My main love for Rear Window came in the layout of the apartment complex. Everyone's windows surrounded a courtyard. At any given time, you could just look around and know what everyone was up to (especially helpful because nobody seemed to be into blinds or curtains sans the newlyweds...but then again in the case of the piano player, you really couldn't cover up that much window glass).

It has since set the standard that I still secretly am holding out for an apartment with a fantastic window view of well, something. I'm not too picky. It could be the insides of others interesting household lives or a Whole Foods grocery storefront.

It goes without saying that I also loved the apartment residents. Incredibly interesting bunch. I always did have a soft spot for Miss Lonelyhearts with her imaginary guest dinner.

Grace Kelly in the dress that was "a steal at eleven hundred dollars."

Rear Window was beautifully parodied in an episode of The Simpsons, "Bart of Darkness." I have to confess, I saw the Simpsons version before the Hitchcock film and sort of lived with the expectation that the movie would end similarly (i.e. it was all a big mistake, the neighbor was actually well-intentioned, etc.)

Oh well. We can't all live next door to Ned Flanders.

"Hey! There's a sinister looking kid out there!"
Haha, thank you Matt Groening for animating Jimmy Stewart. Classic goodness.

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