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Still shot from the movie: Rear Window.

Rear Window

With his leg and hip in a cast, an apartment bound photographer (James Stewart) uses his camera lens to spy on neighbors. With minimal violence and few scenes with sexuality, parents and teens will appreciate one of Alfred Hitchcock's finest murder mysteries.

Overall Grade: A-
Violence: B-
Sexual Content: C
Language: A
Drugs/Alcohol: C
Release Date: 01 Aug 1954
Run Time: 115
MPAA Rating: PG

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In-Depth Review

In Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 suspense thriller Rear Window, James Stewart is cast as L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries, a world traveling action photographer convalescing a broken leg. As he endures a month of confinement in his modest and stiflingly hot apartment, mind-numbing boredom ensues. Biding his time watching the tenants who live across the courtyard, Jeff uses his telescopic photo lens to facilitate his peeping tom compulsion. Soon Jeff is convinced his neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) is responsible for the disappearance of Mrs. Thorwald, his invalid wife.

Concerned about her boyfriend's obsession, socialite Lisa (Grace Kelly) struggles to come to terms with his "rear window ethics" until circumstances bring the suspected murder and her relationship with Jeff into sharp focus. Together they discover that the once mundane little world outside their window has become deceptively intricate, and things develop faster than they could have imagined.

Younger children may be better off tucked in bed, as the film's subject matter is a little intense for them. Although this is a murder mystery, the scenes of violence (pushing, shoving, falling) are minimal, using the viewers' imagination instead. A few segments contain some extremely mild sexuality. On one occasion, Jeff's girlfriend surprises him with an overnight bag containing lingerie, and a young voluptuous dancer Jeff calls "Miss Torso" overexposes her frame by stretching and bending while wearing only 1950's style undergarments (in a brief scene we see her bare back).

Parents and their older kids will appreciate the well-constructed witty story and stellar acting performances that earned this movie four Academy Award nominations including best director. Not as horrific as some of his films, Rear Window is a good introduction to Hitchcock's work. And don't forget to show this new generation of fans the adult version of "Where's Waldo"--the master of suspense always included a cameo appearance in each of his productions.

Created back when you didn't need millions of dollars worth special effects to capture the audiences' attention, Rear Window, shot on a single set, holds us in delicious anticipation in what is perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's finest film.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Overall: A-
With his leg and hip in a cast, an apartment bound photographer uses his camera lens to spy on neighbors. With minimal violence and few scenes with sexuality, parents and teens will appreciate one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest murder mysteries.

Violence: B-
An idle threat to “Put your eyes out with a red hot poker” is mentioned. Characters converse about ways to dismember a human body. Character shown concealing a saw and knife in newspaper. Man falls through balcony window. Woman slaps man’s face. A scream and breaking glass is heard. Dead dog shown. Man grabs woman’s arms and pushes her to floor. Two characters fight. Character falls from window.

Sexual Content: C
Topless woman seen from behind. Woman dancing in modest underwear shown many times. Women sunbathing nude (not shown). Couple kisses and hugs frequently. Discussion about whether or not a “shotgun wedding” is required. Man in boxers shown. Implied sexual relationship between unmarried couple. Newlywed couple depicted as being very “busy.” Man makes unwelcome sexual advances at woman.

p>Language: A
None.

Alcohol / Drug Use: C
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol through out. Woman lays out pills intended for an overdose. Man stumbles about while drunk.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

In one scene Lisa breaks into an apartment in order to find incriminating evidence. Is it justifiable to commit a crime if the results help solve another?

How would you feel if you were one of the neighbors Jeff watched? How might our behavior change if we were aware of being observed? Should hidden cameras be permitted in shopping malls or at the work place?

Video alternatives

James Stewart starred in another Alfred Hitchcock movie, Vertigo.

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Rear Window (Blu-ray/UltraViolet and Digital Copy)

Release Date: May 6, 2014 (Amazon) 3 June 2014 (Alternate release date)

(There are convicting reports as to which date this title will be released on. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.)

Rear Window releases to home video (Blu-ray/UltraViolet and Digital Copy) with the following special features:

- Digital Copy of Rear Window (Subject to expiration.)

- UltraViolet Copy of Rear Window (Subject to expiration.)

- Rear Window Ethics: An Original Documentary

- A Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes

- Pure Cinema: Through the Eyes of the Master

- Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock

- Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts

- Masters of Cinema

- Feature Commentary with John Fawell, Author of Hitchcock’s Rear Window: The Well-Made Film

- Production Photographs

- Theatrical Trailer

- Re-Release Trailer Narrated by James Stewart

- My Scenes

- pocket BLU App

- BD-Live


DVD Release Information:

  • Aspect ratio: Widescreen anamorphic 1.66:1
  • DVD encoding: Region 1
  • Available audio tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono).
DVD Extras:
  • Production notes
  • Making of documentary (including interviews with cast, crew members, filmmakers, and Hitchcocks daughter)
  • Featurette: Conversation with screenwriter John Michael Hayes
  • Production stills, Re-released trailer narrated by James Stewart
  • Script

Parents should also be aware that the opening promotions on the disc include a montage of scenes from several Hitchcock films that maybe disturbing to some viewers.

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About the Reviewer: Melanie Law

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