August 4, 2020

66 years for the Rear Window

On August 4, 1954, Alfred Hitchcock at the New York Theater Rivoli released his movie “Rear Window”.

It was the 43rd full-length feature film by the great master of suspense and the 17th shot after his move from Great Britain to the United States. At this period, the issue of granting American citizenship to Hitchcock was being decided, and therefore the premier had the status of a charitable event. This premiere was attended by two thousand people, mainly representatives of the United Nations, public and governmental organizations, as well as prominent figures of culture and show business. The entire revenue from the premiere went to the US-Korean Foundation, created to raise funds to eliminate the aftermath of the Korean War.

The film “Rear Window” was based on a 1942 story by Cornell Woolrich. Cornell Woolrich is the author of numerous detective stories and short stories, one of the four most popular English-speaking writers of this genre. The basis of the plot of the story "Rear Window" (another name for this story was sometimes used - "It Had to Be Murder") came to Woolrich's mind back in the mid-1920s, when he dropped out of school after studying for a year at the university, began to write stories, and due to foot problems caused by diabetes, he was forced to sit at home all day, staring out the window and inventing plots for his stories. Many of Cornell Woolrich's works have been filmed, but Hitchcock's adaptation of “Rear Window” has been the most successful.

It is possible that the film's success was largely due to the fact that the main roles in the film were played by James Stewart and the incomparable Grace Kelly. James Stewart - during the World War II, he was a US Air Force pilot, one of the few military personnel in the world, who in 4 years passed the way from private to colonel, for which he enjoyed great respect among the Americans. Well, Grace Kelly, as you know, thanks to her dazzling beauty, soon became the Princess of Monaco, the mother of the current Monarch of Monaco, Prince Albert.

The film's budget, according to IMDB, was $ 1 million. True, Kinopoisk gives a different figure - $ 2 million. We think the figure 2 million is closer to the truth, since it is known that about a million dollars went to the creation of the scenery. Indeed, in fact, a whole multi-storey building was built, in which some actors lived during the entire period of filming. However, this is not the point, since both sources are the same in the estimation of the earned films of funds - more than 37 million dollars. That is, the revenue exceeded the costs of its production many times over.

The film received 6 awards and 9 nominations, moreover, the nominations that were awarded to the film were more significant than the awards. So, shortly after the premiere, the film was nominated for the main prize of the Venice International Film Festival - Golden Lion. This prize was awarded to the Italian film "Romeo and Juliet" by Renato Castellani, and the company of relative "losers" to the Hitchcock's film were "La strada" by Federico Fellini, "On the Waterfront" by Elia Kazan, "Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai)" by Akira Kurosawa and others. More than a worthy company ...

In 1955, Hitchcock's film received 4 Academy Award nominations, but did not win a single one. In the most important nomination - Best Director - Hitchcock lost to Elia Kazan, the director of the film "On the Waterfront". In the same year, "Rear Window" was nominated for the British BAFTA Award for Best Film from any Source. The victory was awarded to the French movie "Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear)" by Henri-Georges Clouzot. But losing to such a film is no less honorable than any other victory. Moreover, the company of the losers was, among others, again the film "On the Waterfront" and "Hobson's Choice" by David Lean.

Naturally, with such indicators, the overwhelming majority of reviews of film critics were purely positive. But the most interesting thing was the review of Roger Ebert for the re-release of the film in 2000. In it, among other advantages of the film, he noted the following feature of the film. Hitchcock, according to Ebert, in this film explained the difference between surprise and suspense. "A bomb under a table goes off, and that's surprise. We know the bomb is under the table but not when it will go off, and that's suspense. Modern slasher films depend on danger that leaps unexpectedly out of the shadows. Surprise. And surprise that quickly dissipates, giving us a momentary rush but not satisfaction. "Rear Window" lovingly invests in suspense all through the film, banking it in our memory, so that when the final payoff arrives, the whole film has been the thriller equivalent of foreplay."

After reviewing a lot of laudatory reviews of the film, we asked ourselves: are there any negative reviews? And found such reviews. From several users of Kinopoisk. In the most general terms, the essence of the claims of the authors of these reviews boils down to the following: "a banal plot, a blurry ending, lack of action, lack of glow, boredom, tightness." In short, the lack of what Ebert calls a "surprise." We specified: the age of the authors of negative reviews is from 18 to 27 years. The main age group of consumers of cheap (and not so) slasher-thrillers that flooded our screens.

78% of IMDB and Kinopoisk users rated this film with 8 points or more. Taking this into account and the above, the rating of the film "Rear Window" according to FilmGourmand's version is 8.624, making this film the 270th place in the Golden Thousand.