Unlike books that can be enjoyed for just moments at a time amidst the craziest of schedules, movies require a focused commitment of a few hours. Even when films are broken into segments, an investment of a chunk of time is necessary. I didn’t have many chunks to spare in September, so my movie consumption suffered a significant hit. I only have one flick to add to my 50/50 Reading Challenge list and that was viewed at the eleventh hour, literally – the evening of September 30th. But what a treat is was! Last month was a textbook example of quality over quantity.
Rear Window (1954) starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, and Wendell Corey. In this Alfred Hitchcock classic, Jimmy Stewart’s character is a photographer with a broken leg which forces him into a wheelchair-bound recuperation in his tiny apartment. His only company is a no-nonsense nurse who offers unsolicited words of wisdom and his wealthy uptown girlfriend, played by the beautiful Grace Kelly. He wiles away the endless hours peering into the lives of his neighbors. It’s this harmless peeping that leads him to suspect one of his neighbors of murdering his wife. He never actually witnesses a murder, but when the bed-ridden wife suddenly disappears, the clues are easily interpreted as foul play.
Rear Window was a great experience from beginning to end. The entire movie takes place from the apartment, which gives the film the feeling of a theatrical play. The suspense builds satisfactorily throughout the movie until the tense climax. There is just enough ancillary action going on with the other neighbors to add interest to the main plot. Grace Kelly (the epitome of classic Hollywood glamour) and Jimmy Stewart have great chemistry and are a pleasure to watch. Raymund Burr, who is best remembered as a lawyer for the right side of the law, is decidedly sinister as the murder suspect. I’m chalking up another win for the classic movie column. I would definitely watch this movie again. It was great fun! (4.5/5 stars)
If the 50/50 Reading Challenge does nothing else worthwhile for me, it has turned me into a classic movie fan. Beyond the good acting and content, I can’t get enough of the fashion and the peek into the popular American culture of the first half of the twentieth century.
Even with the cinematic slacking I engaged in last month, I’m still pretty much on target to reach my goal by the end of December. Rear Window takes the year-to-date count to 34 movies. An average of five movies a month for the next three months should get me to the finish line. It feels good to be coming down the home stretch.