This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat
Rear Window might be the best not so believable movie I've ever seen. . It's about Jeff (Jimmy Stewart), a photographer in a wheelchair with a broken leg solving a murder, practically. on his own. He gets some help from his girlfriend (Amazing Grace Kelly) and his nurse (Thelma Ritter). It's not, you know, the most believable plot ever written.
Jeff has a friend (Wendell Corey) who's a lieutenant in the NYPD. The lieutenant is the only person in the movie who has any real life, detective or police experience. Jeff has a theory about how a supposed murder goes down in the apartment across the courtyard from his. The lieutenant doesn't believe Jeff's theory.
The movie takes place in Greenwich Village in the middle of one of those famous humid heat waves they get every summer. Jeff has nothing to do all day but to look out the window, talk to his nurse (Thelma Ritter) when she comes by to check on him, and, of course, hangout with his hot sexy baby-faced girlfriend (Grace Kelly) when she comes by at night.
From his window, Jeff notices some strange things going on in the apartment across the courtyard. A woman who's sick and confined to her bed is suddenly missing. Her husband (Raymond Burr) does strange things at night. He goes out with a suitcase when it's raining and comes back shortly thereafter. Jeff thinks there's something suspicious in the suitcase, like the body parts of the missing wife. He wants his detective friend to look into it.
All the while, Jeff thinks his girlfriend is too perfect for him, his job being very stable. He's always traveling. He thinks that they would both be better off keeping things as they are. She wants to marry him and that is not a commitment that Jeff wants to make. He just wants to recover from the broken leg and go back to work and have his girlfriend available.
This movie stretches credibility but it is very well written and has a great cast, Jimmy Stewart, Wendell Corey, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr and others. It has a lot of great humor, especially between the lieutenant and Jeff. The cop sees his friend as an amateur sleuth, at best, and makes fun of him. He's doing his best to show that Jeff only has a theory and a weak circumstantial case. It becomes a great murder mystery.
Movie Clips: Rear Window 1954 Trailer