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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Friday, January 25, 2013
7:00 p.m. Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1954)



Dour photojournalist Jimmy Stewart sits with a broken leg watching a split-screen “film” out his rear window: the lives of his big-city neighbors are played out in pantomime with tantalizing snippets of sound and ingeniously choreographed framing. Stewart is the perfect captive audience, for a movie or a murder. Rear Window is Hitchcock’s brilliant meditation on cinema and voyeurism, on how we can create scenarios to frighten ourselves, and maybe get killed in the process. With Grace Kelly's elegant enthusiasm playing cat and mouse (or spider and fly) with Stewart's morbidity, Thelma Ritter and Wendell Corey bustling between the lovers to keep them PG, and the lugubrious Raymond Burr as a suspected wife-butcher, this is at once Hitchcock’s most enchanting and ominous film.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by John Michael Hayes, based on the short story “It Had to Be Murder” by Cornell Woolrich. Photographed by Robert Burks. With James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter. (114 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal)