"Eyes on the Street" meets Hollywood

One of Alfred Hitchock's greatest films, Rear Window, is set in one location: the back view from Jimmy Stewart's New York City apartment, looking over the back yards and windows of his neighbors in the dense confines (and eminently livable) of Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

Evening scene in Hitchcock's "Rear Window". Compilation image courtesy: Jeff Desom

Jeff Desom has put together the entire film shown soley from the full window view. Don't worry, if you've never seen the film, it passes at high speed (under 3 minutes) so you won't find out any secrets. You can learn more about Jeff and his work on his website. The music is great fun, and it's fascinating to see virtually the entire film from the wide angle view from the apartment. (Nevermind the film was shot on an enormous set in Los Angeles).

Rear Window Timelapse by Jeff Desom

The beauty of this film, from an urbanist perspective, is it's pure delight in the cornucopia of people, their backgrounds and activities that Jimmy Stewart sees through his window.

Sure, there's a mystery (a murder?); cities are tough places sometimes (and so are the suburbs), but if there ever were a movie about "eyes on the street", so famously promoted by Jane Jacobs, this is the film that shows that in urban areas, you do have "eyes on the street" or in this case, "eyes on the backyard," that show a denser community can often monitor itself much better than more isolating suburbs.


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