L.B. Jefferies, a photographer injured while in the line of duty, is stuck in his apartment with a broken leg and nothing to do but gaze out his back window. A man who prided himself on capturing the intensity of the safari now finds himself spying on his neighbors.
It all begins innocently enough: the sweltering heat ensures that every window in the city is open, and Jeffries can spy without much ado on an attractive ballerina dancer (Miss Torso), a very lonely lady (Miss Lonelyhearts), a composer, and a squabbling older couple. Now, none of these exhibits provide much amusement, but when the bedridden lady of that oft-feuding couple dissappears, Jefferies suspects that something horrible has happened.
It turns out that a brief venture in voyeurism is not as inncocent as it once was, and the view from the rear window is not as safe as it may seem.
As suspenseful as Rear Window is and how masterfully Hitchcock executes shots, this film is not referred to as Hitchcock's masterpiece. Vertigo was recently named the best film of all-time by Sight and Sound magazine, but I urge audiences to reconsider. Obsession is the name of the game for both films and the wit that Hitchcock is so well-known for is prominent, as is the knack for storytelling that Vertigo fails to recreate.
If there can be only one Alfred Hitchcock film led by James Stewart that focuses on obsession, let it be this one.