The Window (1949)
(I could not find a trailer for this film to post with my review, so here is a very short clip instead).
I saw this movie for the first time on a 16mm print when I was about 8 years old. It was enough to spook me back then. I love watching old movies like The Window and being transported back in time to a simpler time. You can see what the big city was like back then and how it has vigorously transformed, over the years.
Recently, I got to attend a special showing of this film at The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, MN as part of an RKO Film Noir Festival. People often ask me, what “Film Noir” is.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of “Film Noir” is: “a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music; also: a film of this type.”
I do not think that “Film Noir” could be defined any better.
The Window is about a 9-year-old boy who is notorious for crying wolf. One night he looks through his neighbor’s window and witnesses a murder. Of course, nobody believes him except for the killers and they want to silence him.
The movie was directed by Ted Tetzlaff and the noteworthy cast includes Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart, and Ruth Roman.
The premise of this movie has been duplicated many times (i.e. Rear Window (1954), Disturbia (2007)) because the subject matter itself, is pretty scary. Could you imagine living next to a killer?
The film holds up today because of the tension that it is able to build up throughout the story. The length of the movie was quite fitting in order to keep it more intense throughout without it having much of a chance to slow down.
Bobby Driscoll does an exceptional job for his age. He holds his own throughout the whole movie. He actually won a special Academy Award for his performance in The Window as the “outstanding juvenile actor” of 1949.
The villains of The Window are quite ruthless for the time that the movie was made. In particular, Paul Stewart delivers a memorable performance. Stewart made quite a career as a character actor. He became typecast as the “bad guy” or gangster, mostly because he was awesome playing those parts. Besides The Window, I really liked him in Mr. Lucky (1943).
You just cannot get the same shadow effects now as you could in black and white, back in the day. The malevolent characters, sleazy setting, and foreboding background music all excellently portray an ominous atmosphere that is the classic “Film Noir”, The Window.
If you enjoy a good thriller, The Window still holds up today. You could even watch it with your kids and help teach them never to “cry wolf.”
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Rear Window (1954)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
The Girl on the Train (2016)