Rear Window/Vertigo

In a recession friendly double-bill, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterwork Rear Window precedes the equally awesome Vertigo, both being projected digitally and both starring James Stewart. In the first, Stewart’s character is a voyeur, cooped up in his NYC apartment with a broken leg, staring through his neighbors’ windows—just as we do at the movie screen. Meanwhile, he rebuffs his society girlfriend (Grace Kelly) with casual disdain, saying she’s “too perfect” for him. Fortunately, our heroine is more than a match for her recalcitrant beau. She does the legwork for his amateur sleuthing into a murder next door, remaking herself into a woman of action and increasing her allure to the passive Stewart. In Vertigo (1958), San Francisco cop Stewart is afraid of heights. He falls for Kim Novak, loses her, then gradually loses his mind while trying to recreate her image with another woman (also Novak, unbeknownst to him). It’s eros and thanatos dancing to a classic score by Bernard Herrmann, pulling Stewart inexorably into the fatal whorl of his own passion, like the spiral curl of Novak’s blond hair, like the twisted tissues of his own cortex. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Thu., April 16, 7:30 & 9:45 p.m., 2009

 
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