Window Shopping

In Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart plays a free bird, an adventurous action photographer named L.B. Jeffries who’s scared to death of being caged in marriage — even if he’d be sharing the friendly confines with the gorgeous and lusty Grace Kelly. The first joke on Jeff, at the very beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s impeccably framed 1954 film, is that he’s immobilized by a broken leg and confined to his New York apartment, dependent on his high-toned darling’s occasional visits for stimulation. When our emasculated “hero” thinks he sees some bad behavior across the courtyard, he can rely only on his enormous telephoto lens — one of the more inspired phallic symbols in movie history — and his feisty, thrill-seeking girlfriend to penetrate the mystery. The folks at Film Night in the Park astutely set this outdoor screening in the heart of downtown, surrounded by rising walls of brick and concrete and hundreds and hundreds of windows. For Rear Window is not only about sexual role reversal, but voyeurism. Raymond Burr is wonderful as the bulky, hulking suspect who challenges our sordid desire to peer into other people’s lives, an urge that has been exacerbated, and as yet unsatisfied, by reality shows, amateur videos, and Webcams.
Sat., Aug. 28, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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