David Thomson has just launched “Have You Seen . . . ?” A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films, a reworking of his famous The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. I got a copy and turned immediately to the entry on RW.
Thomson is iconoclastic and opinionated, and can’t always be relied upon to endorse the received canon. But his write up of RW couldn’t be more favorable. It begins: “There are great films and great entertainments. Sometimes one film is both—take Rear Window.”
His final paragraph is also laudatory and concise:
It’s 112 minutes. It’s funny, tart, tender, thoughtful, desperate, and as neat and tidy a moral parable about looking at things and getting involved as you’re ever going to find. I suppose I’ve watched it forty times or so, and I’m still waiting for it to taste like less than a Meyer lemon fresh from the tree. But as time passes, the suspense falls away, and the bones of greater comedy emerge.
I don’t know whether Thomson is referring to small “c” comedy or comedy that begins with a capital letter, but either way he’s right. Hey, sometimes even iconoclasts find themselves traveling coach.