See No Crime, Hear No Crime: How ‘Murder, She Wrote’ Put a Twist on the ‘Rear Window’ Trope


Rear Window (1954), a traditional from director Alfred Hitchcock, is all about voyeurism and paranoia. An injured photographer seems to be out his condo window, seeing suspicious exercise that makes him suppose there’s been a homicide. At some level, somebody goes to look again at him. There was a 1998 made-for-TV remake and the anxieties acquired modernized in Disturbia (2007) and Watcher (2022). But there simply so occurs to be an replace on Rear Window which regularly gone unnoticed. In an episode of cozy whodunit collection Murder, She Wrote, the main thriller creator finds herself in a predicament the previously-mentioned photographer may relate to fairly nicely. She would possibly share the hair colour with Hitchcock’s traditional icy blonde, however that is the place the similarities finish. The huge distinction is that, in Rear Window, the crime is seen, whereas in Murder, She Wrote, the crime is “heard.”


Rear Window takes place within the New York City condo of L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries (James Stewart). An adventurous photographer, Jeff will get a damaged leg, forcing him to stay inactive throughout the restoration. Girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) and nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter) should not ok distractions. Bored past perception, Jeff seems to be out the window, watching close by neighbors, like Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) who’s dissatisfied with a bedridden spouse. But is he a killer? Because after she disappears, Jeff thinks so. A pal within the NYPD doesn’t imagine him, so Stella and Lisa tackle the newbie sleuthing. Eventually, Thorwald catches on. He confronts the wheelchair-bound man however the arriving NYPD makes positive he fails at committing a second homicide. Although Jeff is once more caught within the condo, his relationship with Lisa has acquired a jolt for the higher.

In Season 3 of Murder, She Wrote, “Crossed Up” finds Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) on mattress relaxation because of a again harm. Bad climate causes Jessica’s cellphone line to get crossed, letting her hear a homicide plot. Nephew Grady (Michael Horton), taking care of his aunt, can’t assist worrying she’s beginning to go stir loopy. Jessica turns to her long-time buddies, discovering no assist in Sheriff Amos Tupper (Tom Bosley) and a few help in Dr. Seth Hazlitt (William Windom). When the killing occurs, Jessica makes her nephew go to the crime scene and report again. As one other stormy night time comes, she catches a mistake on her finish, realizing the true wrongdoer.

The settings for the 2 mysteries are essential and find yourself being simply as intimate. Locking Jeff up in his condo shrinks the encompassing metropolis right into a group of close by tenants. A scorching heatwave blisters the sundown and calls for everybody roll up the curtains and open the home windows, inviting Jeff a view in. For Jessica, her house of Cabot Cove, Maine is much faraway from metropolis life. In this New England seaside city, the locals all know each other with out the necessity of an condo advanced. In “Crossed Up,” a hurricane hits, blasting wind and rain, pulling down timber, successfully making the city really feel extra confined than traditional. All of those are exterior obstacles to the primary, inner one.

“But the old man must be killed tonight!” Listening for so long as she will, Jessica hurries to report it. No shock the warning falls on disbelieving ears. Amos feels it could be a case of cabin fever, mimicking an encounter between Detective Lt. Doyle (Wendell Corey) and Jeff: “You didn’t see the killing or the body. How do you know there was a murder?” Jeff is aware of and Jessica does too. Only this time, there’s a countdown to stop the dying. She lays all of it out for the sheriff: “An old man living in a Cabot Cove estate is going to be shot to death tonight by a killer with a .45 caliber automatic who was hired to do the job by a man with a raspy voice–who’s a member of the victim’s family!” Take it or go away it.

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She is aware of Cabot Cove is the situation, as a result of the hitman “even mentioned County Road 26.” From this, she works out the employed killer is from city, returning after a while away as a result of, “Jenson Road was called County Road 26 until it was renamed five years ago.” Keeping the employed killer a neighborhood is yet one more ingredient to make this crime all of the extra closed in. Amos begrudgingly agrees to look into it. “I guarantee that no one in Cabot Cove is going to be murdered tonight,” he remarks. Overnight, millionaire lumber magnet Jedediah Rogers will get killed. The crime scene is made to appear like a theft gone dangerous, so once more, Tupper doesn’t see this because the deliberate hit Jessica claims to have overheard. Jeff has sparse clues on Thorwald’s spouse being useless. Jessica offers exact particulars and nonetheless can’t catch a break. If making an attempt to show the theft was the deliberate hit wasn’t aggravating sufficient, Jessica offers along with her nephew repeatedly bringing meals made with tuna.

The three sons of outdated, useless Jedediah don’t have sturdy alibis, making it more durable reasonably than simpler to pinpoint one because the raspy voiced mastermind. A daughter-in-law has no concrete alibi and neither does the granddaughter, asleep in the identical property the taking pictures befell. The viewers have loads of suspects in Murder, She Wrote, however they need to slim in on the voice. Which one sounds just like the voice Jessica heard? Amos thinks to make use of a tape recorder, however not one of the voices have the rasp Jessica heard. The damning clue for Jeff is the dust Thorwald dug into, reducing the peak of planted flowers. Jessica’s deal with a raspy mastermind is simply as damning. It is certainly one of many sons. Watching the news, she hears one discuss, this time congested from the cat he is holding. That’s the voice.

The greatest subversion to Rear Window, if not for making ears necessary over eyes, is how Jessica is not like most of the Hitchcock Blondes. In Psycho (1960), there’s Janet Leigh’s embezzler who will get up shut and private with the Bates’ kitchen knife. There’s Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958) who makes inexperienced the colour of a seductress. Can’t neglect Grace Kelly’s Lisa, who places herself at risk to in the end show to Jeff she has an adventurous spirit. These are all cool, younger ladies, conjured up by the male gaze. Jessica is in stark distinction to all of them. She’s older. She investigates actual crimes, however by no means commits them. Being a profitable creator later in life by no means will get to her head. Jessica solves crimes earlier than and after the “Crossed Up” episode, for no different motive than believing it shouldn’t go unpunished.

It all culminates with the killer making a final ditch effort for a cover-up. Jeff is alone, listening to the footsteps slowly however loudly method his condo door. Thorwald enters, staying within the shadows earlier than moving into for the assault. Over in Cabot Cove, Jessica hears the hazard that she is unable to cease. Glass shatters downstairs, adopted by footsteps. The wind abruptly throws open the bed room home windows. Jessica sees a gloved hand pointing a .45 caliber automated at her. As the curtains flutter wildly and the music swells, it is all very dramatic. Thankfully, assist arrives within the nick of time.

Is it tacky? Totally, and that’s the attraction to the collection. Let’s not neglect the confrontation between Thorwald and Jeff. Unable to do a lot to guard himself, Jeff makes use of digicam flashes to stun the killer. There have been higher suspenseful climaxes within the director’s filmography. Jessica might not have digicam flashes inside her attain; she does have a MedAlert necklace, given to her earlier. Once the killer is arrested, she’s surrounded by Amos, Seth, and Grady. Here, she makes an enormous announcement, placing an finish to her mattress relaxation with the aim to return to a traditional routine the next day. The traditional freeze-frame ending ensures all could be merry. Until the subsequent Cabot Cove resident has homicide on their thoughts.


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