Did you see Google today? They created an original video, an homage to Charlie Chaplin for his 122nd birthday. It's pretty awesome. The only point of this post is that I don't want this to be forgotten so I want to commemorate Google's homage by dedicating a post to it. Although so many of us classic film enthusiasts feel like evangelists for a lost art, old movies still have a significant influence on contemporary culture. And that's a very good thing indeed.
Can you believe that I have missed TWO opportunities to watch Rear Window (1954) on the big screen? Due to inclement weather and a too-busy schedule, chances to see my favorite Hitchcock film in a proper theatre passed me by. Like a hungry lion, I pounced on this opportunity like it was an injured Wildebeest. Rrrraawwwrr!
On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Carlos and I headed to Harvard Square to see Rear Window at the Brattle. Now I've talked about the Brattle, many many times before, but in case you are not familiar with the theatre, it's a non-profit repertory house which showcases classic films, independent cinema and cult favorites. It's impossible to look at their monthly calendar and not find a few films that you would want to watch on the big screen. The Brattle survives solely on the basis of their regular patrons, members and generous donors and they are always trying to drum up more support for their theatre. So if you are ever in the Boston area and you love classic films, please support this theatre!
Even though I own a copy of Rear Window (1954) on DVD, it's been quite a while since I have seen it. So watching it on the big screen after a considerable time has past since my last viewing was a great treat especially because it reminded me how many things I love about this movie. How, even though it's a thriller, I find it enjoyable than most murder mysteries because the focus is on the characters and plot development rather than on gore, action and jump scares. Besides, Rear Window has a lot of witty and funny moments. Thelma Ritter (Stella) has some great witticisms and shares no-nonsense romantic advice with Jimmy Stewart (Jeff) whether he wants to listen to it or not. Plus we can't help be amused by Jeff's observations on neighbors such as Miss Torso (the scantily clad dancer) and the pair of amorous Newlyweds (Harry?! Oh Harry...). And we get some sad moments as we see the isolation some of the neighbors face including Miss Lonelyhearts and Songwriter. Oh and then there is Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly). We feel for her. All her wealth and beauty can't buy her the love she so desperately wants. In order to win Jeff's affections, she needs to showcase her adventurous side. How great it is that a woman has to woo a man with her adventurous spirit and taste for danger rather than her physical appearance?! One of the things I forgot about the film was how annoying Wendell Corey is as the detective who just doesn't believe Jeff's suspicions about the murdering husband (Raymond Burr). I just wanted to smack him for being such a schmuck!
The movie house was packed with folks when we got there at 2:30 (half an hour before the show started!). I was really worried that the audience reaction was going to be negative. You know the deal. Laughs at inappropriate moments. Whispers of judgement. However, this audience was absolutely quiet. We all got sucked into the story immediately and the only laughter came at the parts that were genuinely supposed to be funny. In fact, I think Carlos and I laughed the most because there were so many great witty lines, sexually suggestive scenes and novelty moments (such as the famous Hitchcock cameo). At the end of the film, the audience applauded. I am always so happy when that happens.
This experience has encouraged both Carlos and I to do a few things this summer: 1) visit the Brattle more often and perhaps become members, 2) watch more Hitchcock films, including ones we haven't seen 3) spend more time in Harvard Square. Thank you Brattle for giving me this opportunity to watch my favorite Hitchcock film on the big screen!