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)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
I got to enjoy a special showing of this film in the theater recently. I love to go back and watch the classics. Especially, the way that they were meant to be seen, on the big screen. Usually you cannot go wrong with Cary Grant, James Stewart, or Katharine Hepburn. The Philadelphia Story gathers the trio together in the same film. Talk about star power. Now, the three are silver screen legends. At the time this movie was released, all of these actors were in their prime. That is easily why 78 years later, the film is still being played in the theater. Can you imagine very many movies that were made in our time that will still be played in theaters 78 years from now? That is, of course, if theaters still exist in 78 years.
The movie is about a wealthy woman who is about to get married for the second time. However, her ex-husband and a reporter show up shortly before the wedding and stir things up.
The film is based on the play by Philip Barry. It is directed by George Cukor and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Ruth Hussey, John Howard, Roland Young, Mary Nash, John Halliday, Virginia Weidler, and Henry Daniell.
This movie feels almost more like a play, because it is all about the dialogue and timing of acting. It is the conversations and connections between the characters. The setting does not change much and the audience is more focused on the people instead of the place anyway. This is all understandable of course, because it is based on a play.
The film is filled with grace, wit, humor, life, flawlessness, class, elegance, and charm. Those characteristics all together in one movie in today’s world hardly exist.
Hepburn, Stewart, and Grant play off of each other perfectly. They seem to all equally contribute, which is especially rare in today’s movies for three such big names to carry the film equally. The dialogue is very amusing throughout. In a way, I feel like the film captured a little piece of their heart and soul for your enjoyment. A timeless classic. Like a fine wine, The Philadelphia Story is aged to perfection.
I rate this movie a 10 on a scale of 1-10.
To achieve this 10 rating, you have to understand that the film truly has stood the test of time. For what it is, it is a 10. To truly appreciate this however, you have to have an appreciation for old movies. You have to step outside the box that is the film industry of the present. Take out the action. Take out the special effects. It is heart and soul during the golden age of Hollywood forever captured and preserved for your viewing pleasure. A taste of the past held onto for so many years. We held on to it so tight because it is historic and beautiful.
If you liked this film, than you might also enjoy:
My Favorite Wife (1940)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
It’s A Wonderful Life (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Mr. Lucky (1943)
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
Monkey Business (1952)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Adam’s Rib (1949)