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Rear Window

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Rear Window

Professional photographer L.B. 'Jeff' Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. When he begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife, Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend and his visiting nurse to investigate.

key to this is the wandering, observational camera hitchcock establishes in the opening moments, every time a piece of information contradicts the narrative jeffries has projected/suggested on the images out his window he and the camera are immensely disappointed and almost immediately digress to the next image in hopes of finding something, anything. it doesn't matter that he's eventually right about the murder because any moral reasoning for his voyeurism is undone by his untenable yearning for a story. preferably a horny, dangerous one. sound familiar?

Premiering during primetime on the ABC Network in 1998, the new Rear Window starred none other than the late, great Christopher Reeve (taking over the role filled by James Stewart in the Hitchcock film), who returned to the screen after his terrible accident in 1995. Reeve plays quadriplegic Jason Kemp, a former architect who now uses a specially equipped wheelchair after months spent recovering from a terrible car accident. He returns to his home, now a technologically advanced haven, which has been equipped to his needs. Anxious to return to some semblance of normalcy, Jason relieves the boredom of his daily existence by engaging in spying on his neighbors from the rear window of his apartment.

In REAR WINDOW, Jeff (James Stewart), a photojournalist, is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his leg shooting a car race. Now he recuperates in his Greenwich Village flat, getting occasional visits from his gorgeous model-girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and putting up with a visiting nurse. Bored by immobility and equipped with an arsenal of binoculars and telephoto SLR lenses within reach, Jeff amuses himself by spying on his neighbors across the courtyard, from his rear window. Jeff finds that each tenant, some lonely, some oversexed, embodies a different pathology of male-female relationships. At first it's funny to Jeff, seeing a newlywed woman wearing down her husband with frequent lovemaking and a solitary bachelorette going dateless night after night. But then there's a burly guy named Lars (Perry Mason's Raymond Burr), unhappily married to a nag. Jeff becomes convinced that Lars has just snapped and murdered his wife, then possibly dismembered her body in packing cases. But is Jeff correct? And how can he convince someone? And what if the menacing Lars discovers he's been watched?

The tension gets so exquisite in this film that viewers unaware of its reputation might almost miss the cinematic gimmick that made it quite an achievement: it never leaves Jeff's room. Not once. Whole college courses have centered around Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock's fiendish, compact, and sometimes lighthearted film.The POV outside Jeff's rear window into the other windows is like looking into an array of TV screens (or comic-strip panels), the little New York stories unfolding in each one, often simultaneously (and, yes, that's Ross Bagdassarian, creator of the cartoon characters Alvin & the Chipmunks, as a songwriter).

Voyeurism is the act of observing the lives of others, often, but not always, for sexual gratification. It is a process through which people gain more satisfaction from viewing than living. There's a little bit of the voyeur in all of us - after all, going to a movie is nothing more than opening a window into the lives of others (fictional or real). It's a non-participatory experience that offers pleasure through the most simple of actions: watching. Therefore, it's no surprise that the motion picture industry has, from time to time, examined thi

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