Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best River Walk Restaurant

Best River Walk Restaurant

Best of SA 2012: 4/25/2012
Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Guide: It’s almost summer, which means that your government-subsidized free daycare (aka public school) goes on hiatus thanks to an archaic allegiance to a rural agriculture economic system that hasn’t been in play for decades. What to do with the wee ones whining 5/21/2014
How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

How Rebates Have the Texas Film Industry Playing Catch Up To its Neighbors

Screens: See if you can spot the common thread that is pulling at the seams of the Texas film industry. On NBC’s The Night Shift, a stock-written staff... By Matt Stieb 8/27/2014
Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Film Review

Critic’s Pick: Rear Window

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

Texas Public Radio Cinema Tuesdays series $10 for TPR members,

$12 for non-members 7:30pm Tuesday, June 21 Santikos Bijou 4522 Fredericksburg Rd (210) 614-8977

The temperature is 97 degrees Fahrenheit as Rear Window opens on the kind of torrid New York morning that causes characters in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing to go out and start an urban riot. But photojournalist L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries is not going anywhere on account of having broken a leg shooting a wreck at an auto race. Eager to rove the world again in search of marketable images, Jeff is feeling antsy over “six weeks sitting in a two–room apartment with nothing to do but look at the neighbors.” In 1954, lack of air conditioning means keeping windows open and falling prey to prying eyes. In a world that is also pre-internet and even pre-TV, Jeff fends off boredom by gazing at the lives of strangers. He imagines identities and contrives dramas for the faces he sees. This is a drama that could not unfold in an age of texting and caller ID.

Alfred Hitchcock, who puts in a signature cameo visiting a neighbor, often laced his films with what he called MacGuffins — elements that drive the plot but distract us from what is really at stake. For most of Rear Window, Jeff’s attention is riveted on odd occurrences in an apartment across the way. The visual evidence leads Jeff to infer that a man has murdered and dismembered his wife. But the film is really about Jeff’s relationship with Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), the fashion model who loves him and visits while he is convalescing. Convinced that Lisa is a fragile, frivolous society belle who could not adapt to his irregular, itinerant ways, Jeff resists her matrimonial overtures. However, Lisa’s response to Jeff’s theory of a neighborhood homicide is bold, resourceful, and tenacious. The true conclusion to the film is not related to the resolution of the murder MacGuffin, but to Jeff and Lisa’s relationship.

When Stella (Thelma Ritter), the gruff nurse assigned to keep an eye on Jeff, catches him spying on his neighbors, she chides: “We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms.” Rear Window not only interrogates the ethics of a man who makes a career of photographing strangers, but it also suggests that moviegoing, which allows us to indulge in unobserved observation, is itself a dubious form of voyeurism. What distinguishes Rear Window from other vicarious thrills in a darkened theater is its mastery of craft and its bracing self-awareness. James Stewart’s Jeff is immobile but, as deft reaction shots reveal, not unmoved. Confined to a single set, as with Rope and Lifeboat, Hitchcock concentrates the mind and exercises it.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus