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We never know what’s really happening behind closed doors, or even wide open windows. But that’s never stopped us humans from drawing our own conclusions about other people’s lives, about which we are sometimes much more interested than our own.
The 1954 Alfred Hitchcock classic, “Rear Window” is not only a who dunnit, but a did anyone do it? And even the “it” is ambiguous: Was there a murder? Or did a lady take a train? Is a man a killer or simply in sales? And what’s going on with the little dog, anyhow?
“Rear Window” stars James Stewart as professional photographer L.B. Jefferies, accustomed to traveling the world in search of the most gripping news stories. Because of a broken leg, he’s trapped in a wheelchair for seven weeks, with nothing to point his lens at but his neighbors’ windows.
Jefferies has only one week left of his confinement and a beautiful girlfriend (Grace Kelly) to boot, but he’s cynical and prone to sinister imaginings, staring dejectedly at others who seem to actually be living, unlike, he seems to think, him.
Eventually, he witnesses several pieces of odd behavior, which, taken together, can only suggest one of two possibilities. Either there is nothing going on, or a woman has been butchered into tiny pieces and packed into a trunk.
The film earned nominations for four Oscars in 1955, including best director (Hitchcock) and best writing (John Michael Hayes). It also won other awards for best motion picture and best actress (Kelly).
It’s one of Hitchcock’s most suspenseful and as the tagline to the 1962 re-release says, “intimate” productions, most interesting not because of the thrills but because of the insights. Human beings are not only who we are in public, at work, or sunbathing in a garden. We are also dark creatures behind dark glass, wishing we were not alone.
“Rear Window” screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs rotunda at Mesa Public Library, as part of the Free Film Series. The showing is made possible of Friends of Mesa Public Library.
For more information, call the library at 662-8240.