Rear Window is a 1954 American Technicolor mystery thriller movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder.” Originally released by Paramount Pictures, the movie stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, and Raymond Burr. Take a look below for 27 more fun and interesting facts about Rear Window.
1. Rear Window was considered by many movie goers, critics and scholars to be one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best and one of the greatest movies ever made.
2. The movie received four Academy Award nominations and was ranked number 42 on American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Movies list and number 48 on the 10th anniversary edition.
3. In 1997, Rear Window was added to the United States National Film Registry in the Library of Congress as being, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
4. By most accounts, everyone was crazy about Grace Kelly. According to James Stewart, “Everybody just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her. She was kind to everybody, so considerate, just great, and so beautiful.”
5. All of the sound in the movie is diegetic, meaning that all the music, speech and other sounds all come from within the world of the movie, with the exception of non-diegetic orchestral music heard in the first three shots of the movie.
6. During the month-long shoot, Georgine Darcy, who played Miss Torso, “lived” in her apartment all day, relaxing between takes as if it really at home.
7. One thousand arc lights were used to simulate sunlight. Thanks to extensive pre-lighting of the set, the crew would make the changeover from day to night in under 45 minutes.
8. The film negative was considerably damaged as a result of color dye fading as early as the 1960s. Nearly all of the yellow image dyes had faded out. Despite fears that the movie had been irrevocably damaged, preservation experts were able to restore the movie nearly to its original coloration.
9. While shooting, Alfred Hitchcock worked only in Jeff’s “apartment.” The actors in other apartments wore flesh-colored earpieces so that he could radio his directions to them.
10. Rear Window is the only movie in which Grace Kelly is seen with a cigarette. She refused to smoke in movies, except this once.
11. All the apartments in Thorwald’s building had electricity and running water, and could be lived in.
12. In Cornell Woolrich’s short story on which the movie is based, it’s not revealed until the last line that the hero has a broken leg.
13. To accommodate the massive set, a higher ceiling was required. Alfred Hitchcock had the production company tear out the entire floor of the studio, revealing the basement. What the audience sees as the courtyard was originally the basement level of the studio.
14. Grace Kelly may have been a bit too beautiful and friendly, at least for the Paramount publicity department and James Stewart’s wife. Known privately as a sexually free young woman, Kelly often had affairs with her leading men and she made everyone nervous by confessing to gossip columnists that she found Stewart one of the most masculinely attractive men she ever met.
15. Alfred Hitchcock supposedly hired Reymond Burr to play Lars Thorwald because he could be easily made to look like his old producer David O. Selznick, who Alfred Hitchcock felt interfered too much.
16. According to Georgine Darcy, there were four separate lighting settings for the movie, which were meant to replicate early morning, afternoon, late evening and night. She also noted that for some of the settings, the heat from the lights was nearly unbearable for the actors on the top floor of the apartment building.
17. The original story by Cornell Woolrich had no love story and no additional neighbors for L.B. Jeffries to spy on, and those elements were created by Alfred Hitchcock and John Michael Hayes. Hayes was encouraged by Hitchcock to spend time with Grace Kelly before writing the Lisa character and Hayes admitted the elements of Lisa were inspired by the actress.
18. According to Thelma Ritter, Alfred Hitchcock never told actors if he liked what they did in a scene, and if he didn’t like it, “he looked like he was going to throw up.”
19. Once during the filming, the lights were so hot that they set off the soundstage sprinkler system.
20. The love affair between war photographer Robert Capa and actress Ingrid Bergman is believed to be Alfred Hitchcock’s inspiration for the movie’s romantic aspect.
21. By the time the movie went before the cameras, Alfred Hitchcock had dropped more than 150 pounds and was at perhaps the happiest stage of his life and career. He told Francois Truffaut, “I was feeling very creative. The batteries were well-charged.”
22. Cinematographer Robert Burks devised a system using a camera with a telephoto lens mounted on a crane to bring the camera close enough to film small details through the windows across the courtyard.
23. Although uncredited, the ballet music Miss Torso is dancing to in her apartment is Leonard Bernstein’s ballet score “Fancy Free.”
24. One of the photographs on the wall in James Stewart’s apartment in Rear Window is a photograph of him standing in front of a bomber during World War II. Mr. Stewart served active duty as a Army Air Corps pilot during the conflict, flying missions as a B-24 pilot.
25. Alfred Hitchcock deliberately shot most of the setups so that they would appear voyeuristic.
26. Alfred Hitchcock briefly considered shooting on location in Greenwich Village but abandoned the idea in favor of recreating the setting on Paramount’s Stage 18. To get the proper Village flavor, he sent four photographers to New York to shoot from all angles and under all weather and lighting conditions.
27. The original trailer for Rear Window apparently doesn’t exist. Only a re-issue trailer can be found on the DVD.