Monday, August 14, 2017

Hitchock's Rear Window and the Voyeurtini

We continue to celebrate Alfred Hitchcock with a review—and food and drink pairing—of the classic movie Rear Window.

Rear Window (1954) is one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films. It doesn’t create new phobias like The Birds and doesn’t scare you away from taking a shower like Psycho. It does contain intrigue and suspense and stars Grace Kelly and James Stewart. It’s a movie about a voyeur who thinks he’s discovered a murder.

Stewart plays professional photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries, who has just injured himself on a photo shoot at a racetrack. He is in a leg cast, complete with wheelchair, recuperating in his NY City apartment, which looks out on a courtyard where he can see all of his neighbors going about their daily business. It’s summer and very hot, so the courtyard is especially busy as everyone tries to avoid their overheated apartments. He names his neighbors as he watches; Miss Torso is a dancer and Miss Lonelyhearts a single woman with the occasional date.

A late night scream draws his attention to a traveling jewelry salesman and his wife. After the scream, Jeff sees the salesman come and go, each time carrying his jewelry case, but never sees his wife again. Jeff also witnesses the salesman tie up a large trunk, which is picked up by movers. He is convinced the man murdered his wife and is disposing of the body.

Grace Kelly plays his beautiful girlfriend Lisa Fremont, who visits him often while he’s recuperating. He also gets frequent visits from a nurse who is monitoring his recovery. Both women are drawn into the intrigue surrounding the missing wife. A police detective friend looks into things and reports that the wife is upstate visiting her parents and tells Jeff to let it go. Of course he can’t do this, and the spying escalates when Fremont decides to break into the salesman’s apartment to look for clues.

This movie isn’t just a great suspense story, the relationship between Stewart and Kelly is wonderful. He is a world traveler and doesn’t want to settle down, even though she seems ready to do just that. There’s a scene where she’s reading a book about travel in the Himalayas and when Stewart falls asleep, she puts it aside and goes back to her fashion magazine. It’s your typical chaste 1954 relationship, but so much fun to watch.

No movie is complete without a snack, but you won’t want to peel your eyes away from the screen for too long or you might miss something out of Jeff’s rear window. Double Chocolate brownies are a perfect snack for the movie, you can eat them without much effort and the double chocolate made me think of double exposure, a play on Jeff’s career as a photographer.

You can also mix up some drinks, and the Voyeurtini below is a great choice. When mixed together, it at first appears clear but is really the perfect amount of blurry. Like looking through a camera lens that isn’t quite in focus.

Double Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

Stir together cocoa and baking soda. Add 1/3 cup of the melted butter and blend. Pour in the boiling water and blend again. Stir in the sugar, the rest of the butter and eggs. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Once blended, add the pecans and chocolate chunks. Pour into a greased 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.


1 ½ oz Vanilla Vodka
1 ½ oz Crème de Cacao
1 Hershey Kiss
Godiva Liqueur

Fill a cocktail shaker ½ full of ice and add vodka and crème de cacao. Shake and pour into a chilled martini glass. Drop in the Hershey kiss and a tiny splash of Godiva liqueur. 

Can anyone remember Hitchcock's cameo character in this movie?

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