Lately, every movie I watch is reeking of marriage conflicts. I don’t know if it’s my personal issues which make me prone to notice these things, or Hitchcock really was very opinionated when it comes to the disadvantages of married life.
The movie begins with a panoramic display of the set – A man is sitting in his NY apartments’ rear window, where he can uninterruptedly take quick (or long) peeks into his neighbors’ apartments, just across the backyard. In terms of the 50s, the set is VERY impressive. But what I was actually thinking about, when watching these 2 opening minutes, was how it resembles ‘Synecdoche, NY’s set. They say everything is a remix, but for us, who were born into the 80s and 90s, everything is a mix-re. You first watch the remix, then the mix itself. What’s impressive is that the original usually manages to live to its expectations nonetheless.
The man in the rear window is Jeff (James Stewart), a photographer sitting in a wheelchair, waiting for the cast to come off. He has a nurse, Stella, coming every day to wash and feed him, and a beautiful girlfriend named Lisa (Grace Kelly). Jeff is not ready to get married. Lisa is just too perfect, she loves her clothes, her lifestyle and according to Jeff, she won’t leave her life in NY to follow him to Africa or Asia on his photographing journeys. Only Lisa IS ready to commit. In a conversation they have, Jeff states: ‘Couldn’t we just keep things status-quo?’. Seems like there were douchebags even in the 50s. What’s evolved though, is the feminine response (or at least I hope it’s changed during the past few decades), since Lisa answers Jeff inquiry of when he’s gonna see her again with: ‘not for a long time, at least…not until tomorrow night!’. Very impressive, Lisa. Seriously.
So, Jeff the douche is bored with his time at the window. He starts conspiring against one of the neighbors that he’s murdered his wife and burried her in the backyard. I will not get into the entire plot, but man, hitchcock does know how to build a tension.
Another final issue – Jeff is the watchER, but never the watchEE, not until the very end of the movie. I constantly wonder how much of our lives we pass as the watchEE, and not enough as the watchER. I think that’s a nice message to contemplate