SAVED BY A FLASH

Rear Window is probably Alfred Hitchcock’s smoothest, most amusing thriller. It’s about the dangers of voyeurism, a perversion Hitch always wanted to make explicit, and managed to do so here with ever-increasing pleasure. And that pleasure is very dependent on the set: built to accommodate thirty one apartments of various sizes, the things going on in them are intentionally transparent—no attempts at Hitchchology or fraud gimmicks, as in Vertigo. Excepting Anatomy of a Murder, Stewart has rarely been this entertaining or right for a role; every one of his limitations—and he has many—are sidelined by being in a wheelchair waiting to flash bulbs to save his life. Never wearing her Philadelphia-bred style more comfortably, Grace Kelly is energetic and vivacious, showing that she really can get into the spirit of Hitch’s nonsense. (While she has some clever chat in the overrated To Catch a Thief, it’s Jessie Royce Landis who steals the show and who looks better in her blue wig and ball gown than Grace does in her gold ensemble.) With Raymond Burr as the chop-chop murderer, Thelma Ritter dispensing her customary blue collar wit and wisdom.

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