Rear Window (lost original trailer of Alfred Hitchcock thriller film; 1954)

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Rear window poster.jpg

The film's theatrical poster.

Status: Lost

The classic 1954 thriller movie Rear Window stars Jimmy Stewart as LB Jefferies, a wheelchair-ridden photographer who suspects a neighboring salesman (Raymond Burr) of killing his own wife. Jeff analyzes the salesman's activities as best as he can from his apartment's rear window, while his socialite girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) try to help gather evidence.

While director Alfred Hitchcock originally filmed Rear Window at Paramount Studios, the distribution rights reverted to Hitchcock in 1967. The same year, he also obtained three other movies originally released through Paramount (The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo) and one distributed by Warner Bros. (Rope), all of which then disappeared from circulation. Reportedly, Hitchcock also disposed of tie-in material deemed hard to preserve, including the original trailers.

In 1983, Universal obtained the rights to the five "Missing Hitchcocks", including Rear Window. They gave each movie a theatrical re-release, hyped as the first time in over a decade that the public could enjoy these classics of suspense (or comedy, in the case of The Trouble With Harry). Universal also keeps them readily available on TV and home video.

For the 2001 DVD debut of Rear Window, Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz performed an extensive restoration of the original negative. Universal also included several bonus features, including trailers for two of the movie's re-releases, one of which is apparently from the 1960s, and the other one is from 1983. Trailers for Hitchcock's movies often contained material shot, especially for advertising purposes. (Psycho had a particularly famous example in which Hitchcock gave viewers a tour of the sets, describing them as the sites of unspeakably horrible murders.) This proves the case for the 1960-something Rear Window ad, which begins with footage of Hitchcock filming on the elaborate apartment complex set, and also has Jeff break the fourth wall to discuss his addiction to voyeurism. While the menu and packaging do not refer to this as a re-release promo, the viewer can figure this out from fine print reading, "A Paramount Re-Release"-and from the announcer calling Hitchcock the producer/director of Psycho, a movie that premiered six years after Rear Window did. The 1983 trailer simply has Jimmy Stewart summarize and praise the five "Missing Hitchcocks" against movie clips, singling out Rear Window as his favorite Hitchcock film.

The original trailers for three of the other "Missing Hitchcocks" (Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo) did make it onto the movies' respective DVD (and later, Blu-Ray) releases, although the one for The Man Who Knew Too Much is presented without any text. These also contain footage not included in the films themselves, most notably an alternate opening to Rope. The Trouble With Harry had an ad for a 1980s VHS release included in lieu of the original promo, which later turned up online.

Universal released new DVD editions of Rear Window in 2005 and 2008. The movie made its Blu-Ray debut in 2012, with a new restoration, and almost all of the bonus features included on the 2008 DVD. Unfortunately, none of these versions have the original trailer, either.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

The oldest surviving trailer, presumably from the 1960s.

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