Writer’s Desk: Look Out the ‘Rear Window’

Rear Window is one of the great movies of the 20th century. Suspenseful, humorous, inventive, and skillfully manipulative; it’s the best of what Alfred Hitchcock had to offer at his height. It is less remembered for the brilliance of its sprightly script by noir master Cornell Woolrich.

James Duncan of Writer’s Digest teases a half-dozen writing lessons from Woolrich’s script:

1. When in Doubt, Cast Doubt

2. Pile on the Doubt With Doubters

3. Trick-or-Trait!

4. All Five Senses Builds a Fine Atmosphere

5. Location, Location, Location!

6. Juxtaposition is SO Romantic

Not sure how to make these work in practice? Just go watch the movie again. You’re welcome.

‘Citizen Kane’ Gets a Downgrade

Those glorious Brit cine-eccentrics over at Sight and Sound have just put out their annual critics’ poll of the Top 10 films of all time, which wouldn’t normally be that newsworthy. However, given that they were one of the critical organs that was responsible for elevating Citizen Kane to its current stratospheric ranking in the canon, here’s the shocker: Vertigo is now number one. This is the first time a film besides Kane has occupied that position since 1962. It’s now been relegated to number two.

It was probably about time for a change of leadership. Does anybody really think Vertigo is the best film of all time, or even Hitchcock’s greatest work? Certainly one of the master’s more impressive films, but no Rear Window or even Shadow of a Doubt. Many other issues besides that with the list — no documentaries, not a Lean, Scorsese, or Kurosawa to be seen — but they could at least pick the right Hitchcock…

Vote yourself: