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Rear Window


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Swithin, *Rear Window* my favorite Hitch film. *The Man Who Knew Too Much* (1956) this version is one of my very favorites of Hitchcock's. Your comment about a criticism of fundamehtalist religion, is very interesting. Why? because the villian is a charlatan minister that fools the congregation into believing he's a religious man? Please explain. Thanks

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To me *The Man Who Knew Too Much* is nothing more than Hitchcock's often repeated theme of mistaken identity or guilt by association. The bad guys see Stewart with the gov. agent and they just assume he (Stewart) has some relationship with him. And they don't know if in his dying moment the agent passed any information on to Stewart. He did say a few words, but Stewart has no idea what its all about. It could have ended right there but when the bad guys kidnap Stewart's child, he has no choice but to get involved and find out what this is all about. And he's caught between working with the bad guys or the cops. Sounds like North By Northwest, Saboteur, I Confess, (a definite underappreciated Hitch film), Strangers On A Train, and a bunch of other films. Ordinary man in extraordinary situation.

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Sorry for getting off track, this is supposed to be about *Rear Window* , right. I love this movie a lot. The moment when Jimmy picks up the phone and starts blabbing , without knowing who's on the other end. And just silence, and then Stewart knows who's on the other end. Its the killer, and I just let him know who I am and what I know, and now the killer is coming to pay me a visit.!

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Hi Lavendar, sorry, gotta run out shortly, but, briefly, here's the story (not just mine, either). There's no reason for us to think that the minister (played by Bernard Miles) is a charleton. He's an actual minister. Yes, in many of his movies, Hitchcock likes to point to the hypocrisy of people who seem to be pillars of society. In this film, the telling scene is the (second) Ambrose Chapel scene. Why did Hitchcock, an Anglo-Catholic in an Anglican country, select for his setting, not a Catholic or Anglican church, but a Wesleyan chapel? And why are the dour, severely dressed parishioners singing one of the most dreary Good Friday hymns on a Monday? Why does Hitchcock shoot them singing the whole hymn? And why do they look disapprovingly at Doris Day, when she tries to sing too joyfully? And why have the lyrics of that dreary hymn been slightly altered? And check out Brenda de Banzie -- the one character who relents and tries to save the child -- she's the only one in the chapel wearing makeup, as an Anglican would, going to church. This is not the Anglican chapel of the Miniver family, or the Anglican country church of Tom Jones, this is a fundamentalist place (to paraphrase a scholar who wrote in another context), "a place haunted by Christ ? not your friendly hug-me Jesus, but a ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of the mind, pursuing the unwilling."

 

With Hitchcock, everything is there for a reason.

 

And further, from Marlowe's Dr. Faustus:

 

"If we say that we have no sin

We deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us.

Why then belike we must sin,

And so consequently die.

Ay, we must die, an everlasting death.

What doctrine call you this: *Che sera, sera,*

What will be, shall be? Divinity, adieu.

These metaphysics of magicians,

And necromantic books are heavenly;"

 

Edited by: Swithin on Sep 15, 2013 9:38 PM

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Thanks for the response, Swithin. I didn't mean charlatan in the sense that he wasn't an ordained minister, just meant in the sense that he was not obviously a spiritually pure man. The congregation knew him so you have to assume that he had been using the church as a front for awhile. I see your points, want to think it over before I comment any further.

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One of the most successful features of *Rear Window* is the part Grace Kelly plays in the film.

Her character adds so much to it - romance, humour, conflict, suspense. I love the way she first comes across as nothing more than a glamourous fashion plate, and how we learn that there is so much more to her as the story progresses.

It's quite enjoyable to watch how Lisa gradually gets drawn into Jeff's obsession, and ends up taking it seriously enough to fully participate in his investigation, right up to a willingness to endanger herself.

 

And hey, I am a heterosexual female, but even I like looking at the impossibly beautiful Grace Kelly here, not to mention her breathtakingly

lovely and stylish outfits.

In fact, if I were a modern movie star and was attending the Oscars, I'd have someone recreate that black and white cocktail dress she's floating around in at some point, and wow everyone with that at the ceremony.

Here's a scene where Lisa and Jeff are trying to figure out if there was any foul play across the courtyard:

 

rear-window-green-suit-without-jacket.jp

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MissW, ther are those here that don't like Grace Kelly because they think she wasn't that good of an actress.

 

I disagree, but that's just my opinion.

 

There are also some who actually think she wasn't all that attractive...

 

I also disagree, and am left wondering how poorly they've decorated their homes.

 

I will further say this...Grace Kelly didn't NEED a stunning black and white gown to "wow the crowd". She could do that just wearing tattered old jeans and a baggy sweatshirt!

 

Sepiatone

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Begging the question, Finance, what are you top two? Rear Window was my grandmother's favorite film. Sadly, it fell out of circulation for many years, as you may recall, so I don't believe she got to see it again before she died in April 1990, at the age of 100.

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Rear Window is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. James Stewart and Grace Kelly were cast perfectly in their roles. While watching this film, I love how we the audience feels like we are stuck in the apartment with James Stewart's character watching the neighborhood with him. One of my favorite scenes is when Grace Kelly's character Lisa, sneaks into Thorwald's apartment to try to find anything to do with him killing his wife. Hitchcock does a great job making this scene very suspenseful. The first time I watched this, I remember sitting there anxiously waiting to see if Thorwald was going to find her and what he would do if he did.

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Did you ever notice how Hitch is always dressing Grace up really pretty and then trying to brutally kill her? :) What a great sense of humor ! I always wondered, IF Grace had kept her acting career going and Hitch was preparing to do *Psycho* , which female lead (sister) part would he have given her?

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Along with Rear Window TCM has recently shown Pushover with Kim Novak and Fred MacMurray. It's curious that both movies were made in 1954 and both movies have the identical camera technique of spying out of an apartment window to other apartments across a courtyard. The voyeuristic theme and the camera views are so similar, one has to wonder, was this just coincidence.

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>lavenderblue19 wrote:

>Swithin, Rear Window my favorite Hitch film. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) this version is one of my very favorites of Hitchcock's. Your comment about a criticism of fundamehtalist religion, is very interesting. Why? because the villian is a charlatan minister that fools the congregation into believing he's a religious man? Please explain. Thanks

 

I like this version of The Man Who Knew Too Much as well. That, and Number Seventeen, were the only Hitchcock films I watched on Sunday. For some reason TCM rarely airs the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, even during James Stewart or Doris Day marathons. I don't know why it gets such little play, unless maybe the owner (Paramount?) is one of the corporations that it's harder or more expensive for TCM to lease from...

 

Robbie

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As much as I like both James Stewart and Kim Novak and I like both of the 1958 films they costarred in I do think the age difference between the two takes a little something out of the films. Of course this kind of casting was rather routine in Hollywood, like with Grace Kelly and some of her male costars.

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