With summer still hanging on and most industry happenings not really picking up until mid-to-late September, I'm still attending more films purely for the joy what movies are, for the most part, intended to provide - entertainment. The Upper West Side's Symphony Space is currently showing a handful of Alfred Hitchcock's most well know Technicolor suspense thrillers. On this hot evening, I sat in a nice cool theater and saw Rear Window 1954, for the first time on the big screen. Like the voyeuristic characters in the film, once again I became immersed in the window before me and the world of that 1950's New York inner court yard.
It doesn't matter how many times I see my favorite of his Technicolor films, I always notice something new. Seeing the restored version (The film's restoration was, I believe, originally released back in 2000 and done by Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, who also did the restoration on Vertigo) in large projection allowed for even more discovery. Grace Kelly never looked more beautiful. Edith Head could dress her like no other costume designer and Hitchcock could shoot her like not other director. Jimmy Stewart's eyes were bluer than I'd ever seen them.
Rear Window is a completely terrific and still effective, enjoyable film from top to bottom with a incredible supporting cast and stellar behind the scenes talent, such as a script by John Michael Hayes, music by Franz Waxman, cinematography by Robert Burks and of course I can't leave out the editor, George Tomasini. Some might argue that it's dated, but for the most part, it isn't. Jimmy Stewart's character is too often less sympathetic and more rude during a few of his scenes with his leading lady, but the dialogue around what was considered the constraints of marriage is a sign of those times, I suppose. So, I'm willing to forgive John Michael Hayes for the heavy handed female stereotyping. Other than a few of those moments and a few mental "wows" over certain amazingly clever shots, I got lost in the story and thought less about picking apart the construction of the piece. Because, regardless of how many times I've seen this movie, I still tense up as though I have no idea what the outcome will be.
The Symphony Space will be screening several Hitchcock films through September 5th.