A Blog For and About Today's Seniors

by Sandra K. Sprague

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sandra's Summer Book and Movie List

Books and Movies Featuring Care Givers

Rear Window (1954)

Alfred Hitchcock's masterful 1954 suspense film, Rear Window, gives us the most classic caregiver ever portrayed on the silver screen!

In Rear Window, based on the Cornell Woolrich story, "It Had to be Murder", (which itself was based on an H.G. Wells story, "Through a Window"), Alfred Hitchcock brings us Jimmy Stewart as adventure photographer, L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries, who is laid up in a hip-high cast following a mishap while photographing a car race. Jeffries passes his recuperation time by looking through his rear window into all the apartments bordering his New York apartment's courtyard. Jeffries observes the unvarnished lives of every manner of New York inhabitant: frustrated composers; newlyweds; lonely spinsters; ambitious Broadway dancers; and finally, the strange, secretive goings-on of a salesman and his needy, nagging wife.

It is this salesman, (played against-type by a pre-Perry Mason Raymond Burr), whom Jeffries suspects of abusing his wife. A few days pass during which Jeffries doesn't see the salesman's wife at all and he comes to suspect the ever-furtive salesman of having murdered his wife and spiriting the body out of the apartment. (Burr's character, made up as a white-haired, chain-smoking, explosive-tempered tyrant - is Hitchcock's amusing send-up of his own former and much-despised boss, David O. Selznick.)

Listening to Jimmy Stewart's rear window observations and his theories on this suspected crime is Stella, his practical, no-nonsense caregiver, played by the inimitable Thelma Ritter. (Sister of Tex Ritter and aunt of John Ritter) While providing a laid-up Jeffries with nutritious meals, linen service, light housekeeping and medication reminders, Stella is gradually convinced that her client's suspicions may have some merit and takes it upon herself to team up with Jeffrie's girlfriend, Lisa (a never-more-lovely Grace Kelly), to snoop on the salesman in order to get the goods on him!

Note: While my caregivers at CARE GIVERS NW are certainly every bit as good as Thelma Ritter's character at providing excellent Activities of Daily Living services, and are also very good listeners to boot, we typically draw the line at participating in murder investigations!

Rear Window is Hitchcock at his absolute best; surrounded by an excellent supporting cast, Stewart and Kelly turn in the performances of their careers. Every time I watch Rear Window, I see something new and am always delighted by how well this suspense film stands up to time. The disputed ownership and broadcast rights for Rear Window were eventually litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court; if it took a Supreme Court decision to make this classic film available to us, it was a credit to the American judiciary system!

Read Sandra's Other Reviews!

The Savages"T" is for TrespassA Man in FullScent of a Woman