One of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, a taut, tense claustrophobic thriller set in a New York apartment where photographer James Stewart, immobilised in a wheelchair with a broken leg, amuses himself by spying on his neighbours. Although he gives them all slightly derisive nicknames, this is at first fairly innocent voyeuristic stuff but then one neighbour, Raymond Burr, behaves so oddly as to arouse Stewart’s suspicion. He begins to believe that Burr has murdered his bedridden wife and shares these suspicions with his nurse, Thelma Ritter, and his classy girlfriend, Grace Kelly. But how to prove it? The cops can’t help and Stewart can’t move so it’s left to Kelly to do the investigating with, naturally, considerable danger to herself. This has been described as Hitchcock’s most misanthropic film and perhaps it is, but it is also packed with suspense and peril and, as usual, the director keeps the audience on the wrong foot, constantly second-guessing what might happen next.
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