Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Institutionalized Voyeurism is just one of the new ten dollar words I've learned in reading up about this movie. I've been dying to figure out a way to use it in a sentence and am fascinated with the thought of what it means. It means the movies!

Sitting in a darkened room with others, secretly peering into someone else's life as it's being played out in front of you. Identifying with the characters and drawing conclusions and emotions from the decisions and situations the characters find themselves in and how those lessons might have some application in your own life, Institutionalized Voyeurism!

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of a 90 degree summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L.B. (Jeff) Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) enters his last week of home confinement, bored and anxious. So we sit in a darkened room watching someone else sitting in a darkened room watching someone else's life. Gadzooks, it's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else lookingTo read one of these over intellectualized critiques just click now ...Movie Classics in a mirror! My brain is having a melt-down! No wonder the psychoanalysts have been picking this movie apart for years. And all the new words I've learned just from reading up about it!

The view from The Rear Window

This has got to be one of the most over analyzed films in history. Personally, I just thought the story spun a damn good yarn, a murder mystery. Apparently it runs much deeper and has tapped into some pretty dark stuff requiring anyone with a bunch of letters after their name to offer up an over intellectualized opinion.

Here's a sample....

★ OMG! ★

...This element is in accordance with the effect, which Lacan would call the “point de capiton”: “a perfectly ‘natural’ and ‘familiar’ situation is denatured, becomes ‘uncanny’, loaded with horror and threatening possibilities” (Žižek 1991: 88). In the case of Rear Window, this element is constituted by the gaze itself, and is most aptly demonstrated by one of the last scenes of the movie. At that point Jeff’s gaze is returned by Thorwald, which very much creates a doppelgänger effect. However, before focusing on that last scene, an explanation of Žižek’s analysis of what constitutes this “Hitchcockian Blot” is in place...

HUH? I know what all the words mean but when I string them together a short circuit occurs in my brain and all I hear is static. Meanwhile back at the apartment Jeff has been spending his days sitting in a wheelchair with a broken leg, watching his neighbors through the rear window of his two-room apartment. Although Stella the nurse (Thelma Ritter) who drops by to massage his back and prepare his meals, disapproves of his “peeping” and counsels him to marry his charming & beautiful girlfriend, model Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), Jeff insists that Lisa is too “perfect” and refined for his adventurous lifestyle.

This is where the Director begins to deceptively lure the viewer into the "Psychology" of the film. Here on the right is some excellent reading I've happened across while researching this film, if you follow this sort of thing closely.

As Jeff looks out the rear window of his apartment he sees all the possible outcomes of any marriage decision he may make being played out in front of him through the windows of his neighbors. And so the cast of characters begins to take shape...

Later, after watching a pair of amorous newlyweds moving into one of the buildings next to his, Jeff is visited by his main squeeze, Lisa the beautiful. She has brought Jeff a lavish restaurant meal (she doesn't cook much), suggesting Jeff give up his hard hitting globe-trotting bachelor ways and become a "fashion photographer", Jeff feels the noose tightening. Lisa confronts Jeff about their relationship, challenging his perception their romance is doomed because of their different lifestyles.

Jeff, however, insists the pampered Lisa would never be happy enduring hardships in exotic locales and refuses to consider changing his ways. Before leaving, Lisa delivers an ultimatum and announces that she cannot continue seeing him without a firm marriage commitment, then promises to return the next night and give him a 'preview' of coming attractions.

Jimmy Stewart (1908 - 1997) ★

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"L.B. (Jeff) Jeffries" Forty-six yr. old commitment phobic Manly Man, Bon Vivant, Bachelor At Large, Peeping Tom, Photographer Extraordinaire, crusty World Traveler and Man About Town anxiously contemplating his marital status sits recovering from a painful broken leg in his messy two room walk-up New York City apartment.

Bored beyond belief he turns to voyeurism to pass the time amid terrifying thoughts of marriage and responsibilities as the freedom of his independent life style vanishes in a smokey wisp of matrimony to the stunningly beautiful, sophisticated and much younger New York fashion model...

♡ Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco ♡

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"Miss Lisa Carol Fremont" Gorgeous 25yr old Fashion Model, Charming and Beautiful beyond belief. Tick Tock at the effect of her biological clock and apparently suffering from profound 'Daddy Issues' as she delivers an ultimatum and seeks to re-make old 'Jeff' into the man of her dreams and gets caught up in Jeff's voyeurism as they invade the privacy of Lars Thorwald. (This was apparently before anyone had ever heard of a 'Restraining Order')

Raymond Burr (1917 - 1993) ★

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"Mr. Lars Thorwald" Lives at 129 w 9th. Ave. across the courtyard from "Jeff" and has been married so long it's hard for him to remember the night he saw "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights". As the meteor has failed to arrive on time and end his dysfunctional soul crushing marriage and he has failed to Tame The Shrew in the other room, the only course of action left is the obvious, decapitation! Jeff sees this as one possible outcome should he commit to a bad marriage.

Lars will of course get caught, go to prison, study Law at taxpayer expense, dye his hair, hire a gorgeous secretary and change his name to Perry Mason and become fabulously wealthy defending other poor murdering husbands who also chose the alternative to a messy divorce! (humor)

Georgine Darcy (1931 - 2004) ★

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"Miss Torso" this sexy young maiden also lives across the courtyard and always brings a lustful lecherous smile to Jeff's lips during her daily scantily clothed exercise routine as the New York summer temperatures soar past the un-airconditioned 90 degree mark.

She probably has sweaty pillow fights with her scantily clad giggling girlfriends on weekends. Jeff's colorful imagination contemplates what opportunities he might be sacrificing on the alter of matrimony should he commit to a serious long-term relationship.

Judith Evelyn (1913 - 1967) ★

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"Miss Lonely Hearts" is by far the most troubled character, creating 'pretend' dates with non-existent men and a deep unfulfilled need for social human contact. Hitchcock elicits pure pathos with this character which culminates in suicide. Jeff and Lisa see a woman past her prime who waited too long to commit to marriage and now it's too late with loneliness and despair as cold comfort in her approaching spinsterhood.

Ross Bagdasarian (1919 - 1972) ★

Programs! Programs!
You can't tell the players without your Program!

"The Songwriter" is the male counterpoint to Miss Lonely Hearts. Obsessively compulsive in replaying the same composition over and over again endlessly. The eternal bachelor without the female connection to help balance him out and live a more or less normal life. (Charlie Sheen comes to mind).

Ross did a marvelous job portraying the creative personality afflicted with OCD, but in my opinion this was a perfect role for MENSA member Oscar Levant who was a wonderfully creative actor really afflicted with OCD and a piano prodigy. (He wrote a very funny book about his struggle with OCD entitled "Memoirs Of An Amnesiac".

Just about everyone on earth has at least a little voyeurism and has seen this movie at least once and there are literally thousands of 'reviews' you may read just by typing the title into your favorite search engine so I won't belabor the plot description here. Released in 1954 by Paramount Pictures, this is a personal favorite. Jimmy Stewart may appear a bit bland in the passion department, but I always suspected Jimmy and Miss Torso might have their own 'thing' going on (She was very attractive and gave a stellar performance). I remember seeing her in the 'Peter Gunn' TV series. 'Dottie' was played by Miss Georgine Darcy, she passed away in 2004.

Thelma Ritter is a familiar face for any who watch old movies, often appearing in supporting roles as the down to earth matronly type. Although I always wondered about 'Happy Endings' in that massage scene (Too Crass?). She did add quite a bit to the building tension by following Lars.

Wendell Corey had number three billing in this production as Detective Lieutenant Thomas J. Doyle and I haven't said too much about his performance. For some reason, strictly my own opinion, I wasn't impressed. Having always liked Wendell in other venues I felt his effort here lacking somehow (Just my opinion). Click the Pic just below to review his filmography at IMDB.

Grace Kelly and Wendell Corey. (Click Pic Above)

I still give it ★★★★ out five stars and as of this writing it's listed as number 48 in the all time top one hundred movies ever made by the American Film Institute (CLICK HERE). Well, this is getting a bit long and it probably takes a huge load time if you're not connected at high speed so I'll cut it off here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it together....


Above - Rear Window recreated by Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem

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We love Vintage Hollywood! The likes of Errol Flynn, Richard Widmark, Cary Grant, Sterling Hayden and those magnificent ladies of yesteryear!
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