Rear Window (1954) Film Review

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LB ‘Jeff’Jefferies (James Stewart) is a photography with a broken leg who is confined to his flat overlooking the back garden and windows of his neighbours. It is hot and he is terribly bored, despite daily massages from the wonderful Stella (Thelma Ritter) and visits from his stunning rich lady friend Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly). Then he sees something that leads him to believe that one of his neighbours has committed murder and it is all on.

What a fabulous story, with stunning performances. Even though I know the story so well from being retold throughout popular culture, I was still on the edge of my seat. And the dresses – oh Grace Kelly, I can see why you are a creature of legend – those dresses, and the way you wear those dresses. Amazing.

Rear Window was nominated for Oscars for Best Director (Alfred Hitchcock), Best Writing, Screenplay (John Michael Hayes), Best Cinematography, Color and Best Sound, Recording.

 

The Birds (1963) Film Review

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The Birds is a Hitchcock classic. A fairly annoying woman, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hendren) meets a quite arrogant man Mitch Brenner(Rod Taylor) and decides, with very little thinking, to surprise him at his mother’s home a couple of hours down the coast. Both he and is younger sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright) are quite impressed, but his mother (Jessica Tandy) and ex-girlfriend Annie (Suzanne Pleshette) are less impressed. But this story doesn’t get to be explored any further as all of the birds start to attack the townsfolk.

It’s not hard to get past the fairly average special effects; the story is so compelling. I think what got me is that it is not explained. The birds just start working in an obviously deliberately aggressive fashion, and together. Plus, when you see hundreds of bird covering every surface with no soundtrack besides the sound of the birds. You don’t get much creepier than this. Below is a truly magnificent short lecture from Alfred Hitchock about birds. How wonderful.

The Birds was nominated for an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Visual Effects.