The Paw Print
Last Thursday evening, Professor Eriksen had the second movie showing of the semester for students in the Art Building. Eriksen showed the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock film “Rear Window.” For public student viewing, these movies are held in the art department due to copyright laws and department polices. However, many of the movies can be found for personal viewing outside of the art department.
“Rear Window” was originally filmed in black and white but has since been restored to color which is how it was shown on Thursday evening. Eriksen stressed the restoration process of older movies by saying, “We are slowly losing our film heritage.” This loss is due to the decreased demand for restored older movies in favor of an increasing interest in present-day film.
However, in a time of computer generated images, the suspense and thrill of an older film was refreshing to watch. “Rear Window” chronicles the story of a wheel-chair ridden photographer who spies on his neighbors through his New York apartment window. L.B. Jeffries, played by James Stewart, takes it upon himself to pass the time by observing the lives of his neighbors. He watches their activities through his window via plain sight, his telephoto lens, and binoculars. His lady friend Lisa Fremont, played by Grace Kelly, stops over for nightly visits and notices his obsession with looking out his window. Although she doesn’t approve of his actions, she becomes interested when Jeffries suspects one of his neighbors of murder.
Jeffries explains to Lisa that there has been suspicious activity in the complex across the way. The Thorwald’s have been having problems, and Mrs. Thorwald has been mysteriously absent from the apartment. Mr. Thorwald, played by Raymond Burr, has been leaving the apartment at odd hours of the night and his salesman job doesn’t justify it. Jeffries’ nurse Stella, played by Thelma Ritter, also becomes involved in this invasion of privacy and speculation of murder when Jeffries informs her of his suspicions.
Jeffries is constantly second guessing his conclusion. When his detective friend Thomas Doyle, played by Wendell Corey, can’t find any convincing evidence to prove Jeffries’ theory, Doyle tells him to find a new hobby. Jeffries is determined to prove Doyle wrong and bring justice to the situation.
As far as the plot goes, it is interesting and holds the viewers’ attention. The witty humor and sarcasm reels the viewer in and the curiosity of watching the private moments of the characters is entertaining. Although the movie starts off slow, it picks up with a plot twist and the continuing investigation. The everyday nature of the characters’ actions creates a connection that the viewer can relate to.
Even though this film is considerably older than most of the current college students, it still presents a strong connection with everyday activities which keeps it relevant. “Rear Window” was a surprise to watch because it is a movie which surpasses the monotonous and predictable plots of movies today. Even if simply out of curiosity or the desire to watch something different “Rear Window” is worth watching.