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"Rear Window" - What To Watch For

Rear Window is one of director Alfred Hitchcock's most highly regarded -- and most analyzed -- pictures. Made in 1954, it stars James Stewart as a photographer confined to a wheelchair in his New York City apartment who -- with nothing much to do -- watches his neighbors and comes to believe one of them was murdered.

The film will be shown as part of Ave Maria's Classic Film series on the evening of Nov. 19 -- exactly one week after what would have been the 80th birthday of the film's co-star, Grace Kelly. The screening is at 7:15 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Academic Building with a lecture and discussion to follow immediately afterward at the Queen Mary Pub and Grille. There is no admission charge for either the screening or the discussion, which will be led by Dr. Paul Baxa, a history professor at Ave Maria University.

"This is my favorite Hitchckock film because of its technical ingenuity," Dr. Baxa said.  "It is a film about film, or 'pure cinema' as Hitchcock himself stated. The main protagonist is the camera and what it reveals and what it doesn’t reveal about the world around us."

Dr. Baxa said that in many ways, the film is more relevant today than it was in the 1950s.

"Today we are all 'Jeffs' (Jimmy Stewart’s character) with our digital and cellphone cameras.  We live in a world that has completely blurred the distinction between public and private and Rear Window in some ways is an early glimpse into that world."

Dr. Baxa holds an MA and Ph.D from the University of Toronto and his most recent publication is “Piacentini’s Window: The Modernism of the Fascist Master Plan of Rome,” (Contemporary European History, 2004).


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