I thought I knew quite a lot about Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick , but the Internet can always turn up some little gem of information which proves very interesting.
I didn’t know that it is more than likely that Raymond Burr’s appearance in REAR WINDOW bears more than a little resemblance to Hitchcock’s nemesis, David Selznick.
Remembering that David O. Selznick had white hair by the 1950s, there is a definite resemblance – the stocky build, the glasses and the hair .
Maybe it’s just a story that has been repeated many times, but it does seem in keeping with Hitchcock’s sense of humour . He did not enjoy the pressure of being under contract to Selznick for 7 years and maybe this was just a joke he enjoyed playing.
That fantastic set and something else I didn’t know.
The stage 18 sound stage at Paramount studios couldn’t accomodate the size of set that Hitchcock wanted for the apartment complex L. B. Jefferies ( James Stewart) lived in. In fact, the Jefferies apartment was at the ground floor level of the enormous stage 18.
So ,for the courtyard level,the set builders dug 30 feet down into the soundstage foundations – or into a disused basement area – not sure which is accurate.
It was the largest indoor set ever built at Paramount and cost nearly $100,000. The courtyard, the apartments opposite, the fire escapes , the alleyway at the left out onto the street, and even the glimpse of the cafe Miss Lonely Hearts would go to .
Hal Pereira and Joseph McMillan Johnson took 6 weeks to build the set and I’m amazed that they were not Oscar nominated because this set is awesome.
Hitchcock had sent photographers to Greenwich Village in New York to film apartment blocks from all angles, day and night.
Thorwald (Raymond Burr) goes down the alley in a rainswept night scene.
Great photo showing Hitchcock front centre and James Stewart’s leg at far left. This shot is a bit of a mystery as Hitchcock and the crew seem to be on a level with the Jefferies apartment.
James Stewart as Jeff and the people he watches, at first just out of boredom.
A shot obviously from the start of the film, looking at either Miss Torso or the honeymooners.
It’s been pointed out that all the windows were open because it was a hot summer and there were no air conditioners.
The honeymooners. (Rand Harper and Havis Davenport).
The lady sculptor, ‘Miss Hearing Aid.’ (Jesslyn Fax.)
The composer ( and Mr. Hitchcock!) Ross Bagdasarian.
Miss Lonely Hearts. (Judith Evelyn.)
Miss Torso. (Georgina Darcy.)
The couple with the dog. (Frank Cady, Sara Berner.)
Mr. And Mrs Thorwald – it is their story which provides the impetus for the drama. (Raymond Burr,Irene Winston.)
Also watching :
Grace Kelly was offered ON THE WATERFRONT, but ,having done DIAL M FOR MURDER with Hitchcock, she decided to do Rear Window.
The start of it all.
Just a great movie, with a happy ending for everyone – except of course the Thorwalds.
Vienna, you have a wonderful fun site. I remember watching REAR WINDOW(1954) for the first time on the NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1966. Like all Alfred Hitchcock productions, I never forgot it.
I have read about Hitchcock’s inside joke, concerning Selznick and I got a kick out of it. i really enjoyed your keen details about REAR WINDOW. Hitchcock and his production crew went to great lengths in every detail of this movie and all the others. That is why we can watch them several times and catch something new every time.
I will visit again. Keep doing what you do.
Your kind comments are most welcome!
Hitchcock did indeed spend a lot of time on that unforgettable set.
I love youor site, I love old movies which is why I love coming to your blog. It shows and reminds me of all I love and am interested in far as filmography regarding classics. I always learn a little something new each read. Great post
Your kind comments are appreciated.