In “Rear Window”, we have another matching of Jimmy Stewart with Alfred Hitchcock. They did four or five together. ( I just finished reading Jimmy Stewart’s biography last week and I don’t remember if there was a fifth one…Vertigo, Rope, Anatomy of a Murder, Rear Window and ? Someone feel free to remind me! Comments are always welcome.)
With Rear Window we have an interesting shooting style. The whole movie takes place through Stewart’s window, give or take a few clips when he goes out that same window at the end of the movie, or within his small apartment. Hitchcock gives an interview in the edition of the dvd we watched and he says that the idea was to basically look at Jimmy Stewart, then show what he is looking at, then shoot his reaction to that sight.
Without giving away plot details, the movie itself plays as a very modern tale. We’ve got people peering into the lives of others with very little intention of getting involved. One neighbour even cries out, in the middle of the movie, that the people living around their courtyard are not neighbours, because neighbours care about each other. It strikes me as having a lot to do with a tremendous book I read last summer called, “The Safest Place on Earth“, by Larry Crabb.(Larry Crabb wrote the book who’s title I borrowed for this blog.) In that book, Crabb describes our typical church life as being a bunch of people sitting so they can’t really interact with each other…at least he picks on that aspect of a traditional service as an example. From that position he says that we need to circle up, turn our chairs toward one another, find people who we can connect with and form spiritual bonds with each other. Risk, become vulnerable, be real, and enjoy other people’s humanness and God at work through them as well.
Suffice it to say, when Stewart and his friends in “Rear Window” attempt to interact, they do find real hurt, real pain, real humanness, and solve a crime in the mean time. When you do the same in your spiritual life, you find all of those things too, give or take the crime. You also find real joy, real community, real love, real honesty, real Christianity.