“We’ve become a nation of peeping toms,” complains Thelma Ritter, Jimmy Stewart’s nurse in the film, Rear Window.
And that statement is as true today as when the film was released 64 years ago (this Saturday).
Sure today’s voyeurism isn’t as obvious as looking out our window at our neighbours, but we still look, even if it is only through the lens of social media. We very much live in a voyeuristic world where we watch, without being seen, as the lives of those we follow unfold.
With Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock gives us a chance to peek through the windows of other people’s lives. Although some might say this is the very nature of film itself. We watch, an often curated version, of other people’s lives seeking the story that they tell.
Whether we want to be voyeurs or not, Hitchcock not only places the film goer in the position of watching someone whose boredom has placed in in the position of voyeur but also becoming voyeurs ourselves, as we see everything through his eyes.
And even if we are only given snippets and minute frames of a persons narrative, our brains like to piece together a story and fill in the gaps.And that begs the question, has Jimmy Stewart’s character filled in the gaps correctly or has his overactive imagination taken over.
In the fish bowl of his rear window, Stewart’s character is perhaps more clued in to what goes on around us every day, a reality that we might normally not take the time to observe on our own.
We are so keen to know stories and to understand the world around us but it begs the question when we are not confined as Stewart is, how much do we really see?
If Hitchcock’s point was that we all want to know the story of the people that surround us, then why not play a game we like to call Know Your Neighbours. Simply get everyone to bring a few photos (taken unobtrusively of course of the neighbours and create a story around the images. Give your neighbours an imaginary back-story and the most outrageous future.
Do you have a composer living near you? Or a dancer? Or a Ms Lonley-Hearts? What’s their story? What does their furniture say about them or what they like to do?
Then of course, it’s time to watch the film – if you haven’t ever seen it, it is well worth while and even if you have, it’s worth seeing again.
The obvious choice of cocktail is weekend is the Rear Window Cocktail with the lightness of lemon and the lovely caramel flavour of Averna
1.5 oz fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz simple syrup
2 oz water
0.75 oz Averna
Fill a Highball glass 3/4 with crushed ice.
In an ice filled shaker combine Water, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup.
Shake and strain into glass, then slowly float Averna on top.
Also, you really couldn’t have a Rear Window party without indulging in a few Voyeur Cocktails. So we invite you to watch how they’re made …
Now while you might not be able to order Lobster from 21 Club in New York as they did in the film, you can have some Mini Lobster Bite Appertizers
And what goes well with Lobster? Well, some Brandy Cherry Bombs of course
12 Thrilling Facts About Rear Window http://mentalfloss.com/article/84880/12-thrilling-facts-about-rear-window
Rear Window Quiz – http://www.classicmovietrivia.com/rear-window-1954.html
In “Rear Window,” what is Hitchcock’s attitude about voyeurism? http://screenprism.com/insights/article/what-is-hitchcocks-attitude-about-voyeurism-in-rear-window
Rear Window film review from Variety 1954 https://variety.com/1954/film/reviews/rear-window-1200417736/
Window Dressing: Tobey Maguire and Carolyn Murphy Reprise Rear Window https://www.vogue.com/article/window-dressing-tobey-maguire-and-carolyn-murphy-reprise-hitchcocks-rear-window