Behind the scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’
“We’ve become a nation of peeping toms,” says Thelma Ritter to James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). It’s an ironic comment in light of the events that follow—as well as offering a critique of the voyeuristic nature of cinema. Stewart plays L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies a photographer laid-up with a broken leg in his Greenwich Village apartment. He is attended to by his nurse (Ritter) and then his girlfriend Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly). Stewart spends his time spying on his neighbors watching their lives unfold. He becomes obsessed with one neighbor, Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who he soon suspects of being a murderer.
Based on the short story “It Had to Be Murder” by Cornell Woolrich, Rear Window is considered by some critics as Hitchcock’s “greatest film”—“possibly his most clever, his most ingeniously organized and poetically suggestive,” as John Fawell described it in his book Hitchcock’s Rear Window: