Probably the most important and best part of this film is the storytelling through the script, directing and editing. It’s rare for a movie to so seamlessly blend these three important roles to so smoothly tell a story, but REAR WINDOW feels like all three had to have been a great collaboration of efforts to keep such perfect continuity. The mix of quick edits to keep thee action moving during high suspense moments paired with slow, long pans to show the heat and boredom associated with summer in the city particularly for someone trapped indoors is a great feat of editing and directing talents combined. While many directors can tell one story and make it draw you in emotionally, few can make you care about 10 different subplots as well. Particularly moving and intriguing are the stories of Miss Lonely heart and the couple with the dog. Not only do they add to the drama of the movie, they also help with the pacing of the movie and to show the passage of time.
Probably the greatest part of this edition is the amazing restoration done on the film. Every color in every scene looks just as vibrant as it probably did on the set. More importantly, every detail of Grace Kelly’s face is visible as she first walks in to kiss Jimmy Stewart. The sharpness of details is impressive, especially after seeing the before and after images shown in one of the special features.
Commentary with John Fawell, Author of Hitchcock’s Rear Window: The Well Made Film: Fawell clearly knows a lot about Hitchcock and the way in which he told stories and weaved scenes to create such brilliant suspense films. The commentary is cool if you’re interested in movie devices and how Hitchcock worked, but it’s also got a lot of cool trivia and information about Hitchcock.
Production Photographs, Production Notes, Trailer and Re-Released Trailer Narrated by James Stewart.
Rear Window Ethics: An Original Documentary: This documentary focuses on looking back on the making of the film and its brilliance. A large part of the documentary is narrated by an interview with Hitchcock’s daughter, Patricia. This hour long documentary is actually incredibly interesting. The last quarter of the documentary is about restoring the movie and the importance of preserving the integrity of the film.
A Conversation with Screenwriter John Michael Hayes: Hayes tells his personal story of how he discovered Hitchcock and how they started working together. It’s a great interview of personal memories and stories of Hitchcock the director and the man. This is really cool for all of the Hitchcock groupies (myself included).
Pure Cinema: Through the eyes of the master: This is about the use of purely visual techniques to tell the story, and how Hitchcock was the master of this technique. Biographers, famous directors of today, critics and others talk about the meaning of “pure cinema” and the importance of visual techniques to creating suspense and emotional reactions. This is a really cool look at the importance of pictures over sound in visceral, emotional scenes in movies, especially suspense and action scenes.
Breaking Barriers: The Sound of Hitchcock: This particular piece focuses on the use of natural sound within the score to create added suspense and a sense of realism in the film. Particularly interesting are the parts about THE BIRDS and REAR WINDOW because of the use of natural sound on the set versus added sound after shooting. This is a cool featurette, but don’t waste the 25 minutes if you’re not super interested in the making of old films or sound effects.
Hitchcock/Truffaut This is a series of audio interviews between Truffaut and Hitchcock in preparation of Truffaut’s book titled Hitchcock. The sixteen minutes of dialogue is interesting because of the added strain of the translator. It’s put over the opening scenes of REAR WINDOW.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents “Mr. Blanchard’s Secret”: This is an episode of Hitchcock Presents. Hitchcock does the introduction and conclusion of the episode which makes this worth watching all on its own.