It’s been hot as hell here in New York City, and I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite “hot in the city” movies that take place here. Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (1989), Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975), Billy Wilder’s “The Seven Year Itch” (1955) and Jules Dassin’s eternal classic “The Naked City” (1948) come to mind. But my absolute favorite is “Rear Window.”

James Stewart as 'Jeff' and Grace Kelly as Lisa in "Rear Window" (1954)

James Stewart as ‘Jeff’ and Grace Kelly as Lisa in “Rear Window” (1954)

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece “Rear Window” probably still stands as one of the best hot New York City summer movies ever made. With a story that takes place over a few days during a heatwave, “Rear Window” stars James Stewart as L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries, a news photographer sequestered in his West Village studio apartment with a broken leg and nothing much else to do other than peep at his neighbors outside his rear window. Over the course of a few evenings, he witnesses behavior in a neighboring apartment that strongly suggests that a murder has taken place. Unable to move in his leg-long cast, Stewart is helped in his quest to find the truth by his girlfriend Lisa Fremont, played by a stunning Grace Kelly (who has one of the most breathtaking screen entrances in film history), and his visiting nurse Stella, played by the inimitable and hilarious Thelma Ritter.

James Stewart

James Stewart

The story is gripping, the performances are terrific, and the cinematography and production design are legendary.

Two composite images of the enormous indoor set on a soundstage outside James Stewart's rear window, lit for different times of day.

Two composite images of the enormous indoor set on a soundstage outside James Stewart’s rear window, lit for different times of day.

“Rear Window” is a gorgeous classic and essential viewing for any movie lover. If you’re a collector, this is one you’ll want to buy.

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