Rear Window, from 1954, stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr and was nominated for 4 Academy Awards.
It was remade in 2007 as Disturbia, in a modern day retelling, with Shia LaBeouf in the Jimmie Stewart role.
The entire picture was shot on one set which, at the time, was the largest indoor set ever built at Paramount Studios. The set consisted of 31 apartments, eight of which were completely furnished and all of them had running water and electricity.
During the shoot, Georgine Darcy, who plays Miss Torso, lived in her “apartment” all day, relaxing in it as if it were home. By the way, when Darcy met Hitchcock, she had no idea who he was and, even recommended that she get an agent, she didn’t and ended up being paid only $350 for the film.
While shooting, Hitchcock worked only in Jeff, or Stewart’s, "apartment" and directed the actors in the other apartments by radio, through hidden earpieces they wore.
A thousand arc lights were used to simulate sunlight and they once got so hot they set off the soundstage sprinkler system.
The film was unavailable for decades because the rights to it and 4 other Hitchcock pictures of the same period were bought back by Hitchcock and left to his daughter as part of his estate.
The others were The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rope, The Trouble with Harry, and Vertigo. They were finally re-released into theatres in the mid-1980s, after a 30-year absence from viewers.
Before the theatrical re-releases in the 1980's, Rear Window was televised once on ABC, in 1971, even though the network technically didn’t have the legal right to show it.
James Stewart (or Jimmie, a nickname, by the way, that he reportedly hated) was nominated for five Academy Awards during his career, and he won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1940 for The Philadelphia Story.
After that win, he sent the statue to his father in Indiana, Pennsylvania, who kept the Oscar on a shelf in his hardware store for the next 25 years.
Stewart also had a distinguished military career and was a World War II veteran. In 1940, Stewart was drafted but then rejected because he didn’t meet the weight requirements for new recruits—Stewart only weighed 143 pounds, the minimum was 148 pounds.
He gained some weight and was eventually accepted into the Army in March, 1941, thus becoming the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II.
During the war, one of the soldiers serving under him in his unit was a sergeant named Walter Matthau. Stewart remained involved with the US Air Force Reserve after the war and retired in 1959 as a Brigadier General.
His hair started to recede during the war and by the early 1950s, he wore a toupee for all of his movie roles.
Stewart was one of the most likable Hollywood stars and, while always gracious with his fans, he was very protective of his privacy. One time at the height of his popularity, a nervy family of tourists set up a picnic on his front lawn.
Stewart saw them, came out of his house and, without saying a word, turned on the sprinklers and went back inside.
He appeared in almost 100 movies and was one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. When he died in 1997, at the age of 89, over 3,000 people, mostly celebrities, attended his funeral.
Playing nurse Stella is Thelma Ritter, whose movie career started with a bit part in 1946 in the Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street. She was nominated for 6 Best Supporting Actress Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes.
And she was nominated for Oscars 4 years in a row, from 1951 to 1954.
Raymond Burr plays Lars Thorwald, the man Jimmie Stewart thinks is a murderer. In World War II, Burr also served in the military and was wounded on Okinawa and sent home.
He made his film debut in 1946 and appeared in more than 90 films before landing the TV role that made him a star. At the height of his fame, like Marlon Brando, in 1965 he bought his own island in the South Pacific (Fiji), where he raised cattle and copra (dried coconut).
Burr's official biography said that he had been previously married, but that both wives and one child had died. However, these details were made up in an attempt to hide the fact that Burr was gay.
He actually had only one short marriage, which ended in divorce; the other marriage and the child were pure PR fiction. Of course, he is best remembered for his starring roles as the title characters of two TV series: Perry Mason and Ironside. When he died in 1993, he left his $32-million estate solely to his partner of 35 years.
Playing the songwriter is a real-life songwriter named Ross Bagdasarian who is more famous as the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
He named the Chipmunks after three executives at Liberty Records - President Alvin Bennett, Vice-President-Si Waronker and engineer Ted Keep.
He also wrote several catchy songs including Witch Doctor and the Chipmunk hit The Christmas Song (Santa Don’t Be Late).
The screenwriter was John Michael Hayes. Hayes wrote three screenplays that starred James Stewart and he wrote 4 films for Hitchcock.
He had a 40+ year career and wrote such hits as the classic To Catch A Thief, The Trouble with Harry, Peyton Place, Butterfield 8 and The Carpetbaggers.
He also wrote the script for Walking Tall but didn’t get a screen credit for it. He was nominated for 2 Oscars, including for the film.
And you may recognize the man on the fire escape as Frank Cady, who played Sam Drucker, the general store owner, on TV’s Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.
And this film is the only one where Grace Kelly is seen with a cigarette; she refused to smoke in films, except this once.
Be sure to look for Hitchcock in one of his famous cameo appearances, about a half hour into the film, winding the clock in the songwriter's apartment.
An interesting bit of trivia: All of the sound in the film is what’s called diegetic or source sound, meaning that all the music, speech and other sounds come from within the film, with the exception of non-diegetic orchestral music heard in the first three shots of the film.