This is a look at the Alfred
Hitchcock film Rear Window and how it was brought to the screen. From
Pre-Production, to the famous set, to the premiere, Hitchockk's entertaining
classic has a very interesting story behind it. (You may want to check out the
film before you read this so you get the jiff of it.)
The Making of Rear
THE CONTRACT-JUNE 1953 WITH PARAMOUNT
Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock became the sole owners of the film and received an
initial payment for their services for $200,000
became one of the first actors to defer his salary for a percentage of this
films profit, which is now common today.
over a month to build
time the set was the largest indoor set built at Paramount Studios
set was 25% of the entire budget, compared to 12% for the cast. (The budget was
roughly set at 1 Million dollars)
giant arc lights were needed to light the set from overhead while more than
2000 other miscellaneous lamps were necessary for supplemental lighting. The
bill for lighting came close to 100,000 (95,584)
of the sound in the film is diegetic, meaning that all the music, speech and
other sounds all come from within the world of the film.
opened on November 27
shots were extremely difficult given the distance from Jimmy Stewart’s window
to across the way. These point of view shots were first shot with a ten inch
lens, but it was unclear to see certain objects (Jeff using his long camera
lens to focus on Thorwald retrieving his wife’s wedding wing. So they got rid
of the lens and Hitchcock used a six inch model and compensated for the loss of
magnification by placing a camera on a boom outside Jeff’s apartment.
(Adjustable metal arm, attached to a firm stand, on which lighting can be
mounted. Some booms are also made to support cameras.)
controlled the action across the courtyard by means of a short-wave radio
installed in Jeff’s apartment. The actors across the way wore flesh-colored
earphones with frequencies tuned in to the shortwave signal. The actors had to
nail every shot perfectly because the cameras long lenses had such a shallow
depth of field; focus would be lost if an actors movement varied a few inches
either way. During the shoot Georgine
Darcy, who played "Miss Torso", "lived" in her
apartment all day, relaxing between takes as if really at home.
was an issue. They needed to borrow so many lights (from Columbia
and MGM) that at one point the heat became so intense it set off the entire
sprinkler system. Fortunately, a drainage system had been installed to prevent
flooding during the night scenes in which it rains.
even under these incidents managed to keep his cool and focused on what needed
to be done.
they started with the end and ended with the beginning. They wanted to make
sure that all pieces were in place for Stewart to improvise the scene just
filming moved along smoothly covering four to seven pages of script a day.
Photography ended on January 13th although crew continued
photographic inserts, trailers, and retakes. The final cut came on March 22nd
where at the time the musical score could be placed in.
-The release of the film premiered at New
York’s Rivoli Theater on August 4th and the
premiere came a week later. Reviews were more than solid and The Box office was
very solid as it made 5.3 million in rentals which was the fifth best of the
year. As being a critical darling and a box office success, it garnered four
Oscar nominations (writing, directing for Hitchcock, sound recording and
cinematography though was shut out from winning any)