Rear Window is a classic 1954 thriller, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Jimmy Stewart (who would later call this his favorite Hitchcock movie) and Grace Kelly.The main charcter, L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries (Stewart) is a news photographer who broke his leg during a dangerous assignment. He is confined to his small New York City apartment and, out of boredom, starts to spy on his neighbors. He sees one of his neighbors, Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), acting suspiciously. He eventually becomes convinced that Thorwald killed his wife Anna (Irene Winston), a bedridden invalid who has gone missing.Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont (Kelly), doesn't believe him at first, but soon changes her mind. After the police don't believe them, Jeff, Lisa and Jeff's nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter), try to come up with a plan to catch the killer.This movie was remade in 1998 with the late Christopher Reeve, who was actually paralysed from the neck down. The 2007 film Disturbia with Shia LaBeouf is a modern-day retelling.
Bottle Movie: The action rarely leaves the perspective of Jeff's apartment, which means that the action is limited to Jeff's apartment, what he can see in the courtyard of the apartment complex and the windows of other apartments. The only time that the movie leaves this limited perspective is when Thorwald pushes Jeff out of his window.
While the effect is similar, Rear Window was the opposite of most TV Bottle Episodes, shot to save money: The entire courtyard was constructed on a sound stage; one of the largest in film history at the time. This gave Hitchcock precise control over lighting and camera angles - on the enormous courtyard set he often had to give actors direction via radio while he was shooting from the opposite side.
Bridal Carry: The newlyweds first enter their new apartment normally, getting everything settled with the landlord. Then they walk out just so he can carry her in this way.
Closed Circle: Jeff can't leave his apartment because of his broken leg.
Come Back to Bed, Honey: At the beginning of the movie, a newly-wed couple moves into an apartment close to Jeff's. They close their blinds and are not seen for a while. After a few days, the man is seen leaning out of the window, and his wife calls him back.
Creator Cameo: Hitch is seen tinkering with the clock in the songwriter's apartment.
Does This Remind You of Anything? Unable to see into an apartment with a pair of binoculars, Jeff picks up a telescopic lens. As in... longer (an analysis of the film outright describes this as "an optical erection"). Plus the fact that voyeurism is already a sexually deviant activity (even though this isn't the reason Jeff is spying on his neighbours), it's pretty obvious this is typical of Hitchcock's style.
Drowning His Sorrows: The struggling songwriter comes home drunk and scatters the sheet music off his piano in frustration, much to Jeff's amusement.
Girl Friday: Lisa to Jeff. The trope is even discussed by them:
Lisa: You're not up on your private eye literature. When they're in trouble, it's always their Girl Friday who gets them out of it.
Jeff: Well, is she the girl that saves him from the clutches of the seductive showgirls and the overpassionate daughters of the rich?
Lisa: The same.
Jeff: That's the one, huh? It's funny, he never ends up marrying her, does he, huh? That's strange.
Heat Wave: At the beginning of the movie, the camera shows a thermometer that reads about 90°F.
Paired with Empathic Environment. Notice how the Heat Wave has broken after the mystery is solved, the murderer is caught and the other residents of the building begin to happily go on with their lives?
Jeff: Did you ever get shot at? Did you ever get run over? Did you ever get sandbagged at night because somebody got unfavourable publicity from your camera? Did you ever... those high-heels, they'll be great in the jungle and the nylons and those six ounce lingerie...
Kick the Dog: Thorwald kills a little dog because it had discovered the corpse (well, part of it) of his wife in the garden.
Kuleshov Effect: Used extensively. Stewart actually complained that Hitchcock used the editing of the film in general to create a different performance than the one that was given.
Lap Pillow: Lisa holds Jeff's head in her lap after Thorwald throws him out of the window.
Lingerie Scene: Lisa has one. She calls it "preview of coming attractions".
Logo Joke: The Paramount logo appears on Jeff's blinds as they close during the end of the movie.
Love Epiphany: Jeff, about Lisa, after she leaves Thorwald the note. She runs back to the apartment, breathlessly asking what his reaction was, and Jeff's look seems to fit in with this trope.
Maybe Ever After: Jeff and Lisa. Early on, Jeff says that their relationship can't work out, because their lifestyles are too different. Lisa can't really counter this, but they still remain together. The ending scene shows the ambiguity of their future; Lisa is wearing a shirt and pants instead of her earlier, impractical high-fashion outfits, and she reads a book called Beyond the High Himalayas. However, once she notices that Jeff has fallen asleep, she puts the book away, and starts reading a fashion magazine — showing that she hasn't really changed.
No Accounting for Taste: Jeff and Lisa know that their relationship wouldn't work, because their lifestyles are way too different, but they're still unable to break up.
No Name Given: Jeff's first name is never revealed, and neither is Stella's last name. Aside from Thorwald, none of the people living in the apartment are given names either, only nick-names such as "Miss Torso" or "Miss Lonely-Hearts".
Not So Different / Shadow Archetype: There is a theory floating around that Miss Torso and Miss Lonelyhearts are this to Lisa. This isn't so far-fetched when you consider that many of the movements Miss Lonelyhearts makes are similar to Lisa's in the same scene and that Lisa empathizes with Miss Torso fending off advances of "wolves."
Plus the possibility that Jeff and Lisa's relationship might not work out. Lovely and charming as she is, Lisa might end up just as lonely as Miss Lonelyhearts.
Oh Crap: Thorwald finally spotting Jeffries watching him. It's quite an experience watching this scene with an audience.
Jeff's reaction after he picks up the phone and starts babbling to Doyle . . .only to be greeted with dead silence and realize that it wasn't Doyle calling him, it was Thorwald.
Phallic Weapon: The telescopic lens Jeff uses to facilitate his voyeurism
Playing Against Type: Jimmy Stewart, usually cast as a nice guy, plays a character who has bitter ideas about marriage and a touch of voyeurism in him. Became a bit of a theme in his post World War II career.
Police Are Useless: Jeff's friend, Doyle, who is a police detective, dismisses his theory, but it's subverted in that his arguments are very convincing.
(Jeff stops just before putting some bacon in his mouth)
"Oh — of course! In the bathtub. That's the only place he could wash away the blood."
(Jeff puts down the bacon)
Remaster: By 1997, the original negative had deteriorated so badly, the scene where Lisa wakes Jeff had a green tint. Robert A. Harris and James Katz fixed the colors by creating a new technique of restoring a film's yellow layer.
Subtext: One interpretation of the movie is that it is a commentary on the institution of marriage, and the story is really about Jeff and Lisa more than it is about Thorwald.
And the fact that the once-happy newlywed couple has begun to bicker raises the ominous hint that they might end up like the Thorwalds.
More often, it's viewed as a commentary on the medium of film itself and the window it gives the audience into other people's stories.
Title Drop: Lisa delivers the page quote after Jeff asks whether or not she finds their spying ethical even if they end up disproving the murder.
Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The pretty ballet dancer who has spent the film fending off the advances of several male model types is seen happily welcoming home her chubby, bespectacled lover at the end of the movie.