I saw the restored version of Hitchcock's Rear Window at the Rialto tonight. Here's a director who knows how to tell a story. I thought the film held up well anyway, but I was truly convinced when the trio of chirpy twelve-year-old girls sitting behind me actually shut up and watched during the intense scenes. This is a movie that chilled my whole body, not just my spine, like nothing Craven or Carpenter has ever made, and without a drop of blood — on screen, anyway.
The courtyard setting with the little scenarios played out in each window is a wonderful metaphor for the voyeuristic nature of cinema itself. As we watch Jimmy Stewart, his character is the audience at the 1954 version of a multiplex, and he interprets the mini-features for us. He draws us into his world as he draws the visitors to his apartment into the mystery, slowly but inexorably. That's why we go to the movies, to be pulled into lives and stories and worlds that aren't our own. Hitchcock was a master at manipulating the minds of the people in the seats.