The 50 Day Movie Challenge asks one question every day, to be answered by a few paragraphs and a clip, if possible. Click here for the full list of questions.
Today’s prompt: What is your favorite movie?
When you first meet someone and they find out you’re in to movies, it’s not long before “so what’s your favorite movie” gets asked. Nice of this challenge to just jump right into to the point and get it over with. I probably speak for a lot of film buffs in saying that in one way, you pretty much end up just choosing something to call your favorite when people ask, because really, once you’ve seen several hundred or thousand widely varied films, it’s difficult to be sure. Services like Flickchart help a lot, though, building a ranked list by asking you to simply choose between two movies over and over. In this case, my rote chosen answer and my Flickchart agree: my favorite film of all time is Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
It’s a film I’ve seen probably fifteen times, and yet if I ever happen to flip by it on TV, I’m going to watch it to the end, no question. There are just so many layers to it that even now, I’m seeing and focusing on different things every time I watch it. It’s a great mystery film as Jeff tries to figure out whether his neighbor across the courtyard has killed his wife. It’s a great suspense film as the murder gets a little too close to home. It’s a great experimental film as Hitchcock confines his camera in the room with Jeff, binding our perspective to his.
It’s a great romance as Jeff and Lisa muddle their way through their comfortable yet troubled relationship. It’s a great ethical think piece as we consider the implications, both negative and positive, of Jeff’s observing his neighbors. It’s a great character study as we explore Jeff’s personality and how it affects everyone around him. It’s a great meta-film as we notice how similar Jeff watching his neighbors from afar is to us watching the movie itself (and what a shock it is when Jeff’s “entertainment” threatens his loved ones and then himself). It’s a great comedy thanks to Thelma Ritter’s impeccable support and Hitch’s own sly wit. And it’s great because it pulls all these disparate elements together in such a way that they complement, comment on, and build on each other to create what I think is honestly a pretty much flawless film.