Skip to main content

Rear Window is one of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock‘s most iconic movies. It stars legendary actor James Stewart in the lead role, which inspired many future thriller performances. However, his public persona was allegedly quite different from how he conducted himself on the set. Rear Window star Wendell Corey said that he thought Hitchcock was actually a little bit afraid of Stewart as a result of his behavior.

James Stewart plays L.B. Jefferies in ‘Rear Window’

'Rear Window' Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart in suits with Hitchcock holding Stewart's arm
L-R: Alfred Hitchcock and James Stewart | Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Rear Window tells the story of a news photographer named L.B. Jefferies (Stewart). He’s confined to a wheelchair after an accident, so he begins to spend his time watching the occupants of neighboring apartment buildings to pass the time. However, Jeff believes that he witnesses a murder through a telephoto lens and binoculars. He’s determined to get to the bottom of a crime that he’s certain he saw.

Hitchcock directs a screenplay written by John Michael Hayes. Stewart leads the cast as Jeff, who causes both the audience and the characters around him to question if he actually even saw a murder at all. If the murder did happen, his life is potentially on the line as a result of witnessing the crime. This is only the beginning of Rear Window‘s source of tension.

Wendell Corey said that Alfred Hitchcock was ‘a little afraid’ of James Stewart on the set

Stewart’s Rear Window co-star Wendell Corey plays NYPD Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle. Lawrence J. Quirk’s James Stewart: Behind the Scenes of a Wonderful Life explores the actor’s life and career. However, Quirk’s text explores another side to the actor in an official statement from Corey.

“There was a whopping big ego underneath that allegedly shy, stuttering, bumbling persona,” Corey said. “When Jimmy Stewart didn’t like the way a scene was going, he could yell with the best of them — you could hear him over to the next sound stage!”

Corey continued: “He was plenty fussy about the right shots, the right lighting, and he could out-argue and out-shout Hitchcock — I even think Hitch got a little afraid of him at times. There was steel under all that mush, believe me!”

‘Rear Window’ earned 4 Oscar nominations


Why Frank Capra Shut Down ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Set to Let the Cast Recover

Rear Window earned 4 Oscars for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Recording, and Best Writing, Screeplay. The film contintues to impress audiences and critics alike for its masterful control of storytelling. They credit the film’s tension, performances, and visual style. Critics frequently refer to the suspense movie as a masterpiece.

The Library of Congress selected Hitchcock’s classic for preservation in the The United States National Film Registry for its cultural and historical significance. It put the theme of voyeurism on the big screen in a way that influenced many directors in following years. Several adaptation appeared over the years. Some more recent movies such as 2007’s Disturbia explore modern re-tellings of Hitchcock’s iconic film.