The Home of the Creative Mind
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
I truly want to go on a rant to say how great a storyteller Alfred Hitchcock was. I want to pontificate at length the scope of his genius in layering his works with the superb efforts of his talent pool of collaborators. They were all masters in their fields. Take Edith Head, the costume designer. Once Hitchcock started working with her, he never let her go. Why? Take Grace Kelly’s entrance. You fall in love with her the moment she walks into the room, and you can’t help but love her for the rest of the movie. Grace Kelly’s excellent acting skills, aided by Edith Head’s design of her superbly elegant clothes, embodied her character. I want to rant on and on, but I’ll just say that everything about Rear Window is a joy: the set design, the script, the lighting, the cinematography, everything. As with every true artist, there is more to Hitchcock’s work than can be seen with a casual passing eye. His ability to lure you with a double-take is just the beginning of the adventure. No sooner have you glanced back than suddenly you find yourself caught up in a net of thoughts, conceptions, and twisted perception. In Rear Window, the roles within its established microcosm seem obvious. As the movie progresses, we are forced to reassess those roles and then explore ways test our assumptions, just like our hero. Alfred Hitchcock takes a rather plain murder mystery and creates a captivating adventure of the senses, as well as a friendly tweak to the mind.
As a side note, many suspect that the character Edna Mode in The Incredibles pays homage to Edith Head. I certainly hope it is. Her screen legacy of eight Oscar wins (out of thirty-five nominations throughout her fifty-year Hollywood career) for best costume design shouldn’t have ended with her last film, 1982’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, released a year after her death. After all, she was only 84.