“Why is life worth living?” Isaac Davis (Woody Allen) asks into a tape recorder in Allen's 1979 film Manhattan. His answers—random yet specific—include the crabs at Sam Wo’s, the second movement of the Jupiter symphony, Sentimental Education by Flaubert, Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Potato Head Blues” and “those incredible apples and pears by Cezanne.” Here’s our version of that, certain elements of cinema that make our lives worth living, or at least make movies worth watching. They seem to come to us from out of nowhere, little pockets of breathtaking beauty, expert craftmanship and happy accidents. Here are ten such moments—random yet specific—that make us stick around for one more day.
Entries in rear window (3)
Rear Window completes filming, 1954. In a deviation from the original script, director Alfred Hitchcock decided to confine all the movie’s scenes to the apartment of L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries and its back courtyard. It was a move that relegated costar Gig Young’s face to the cutting room floor. At the time, Young had made 32 feature films and made strong impressions in a number of supporting roles, most notably in 1951’s Come Fill the Cup, for which he received an Oscar nomination. In Rear Window, James Stewart was cast as Jeff, a photojournalist with a broken leg, and Young was cast as Jeff’s editor. In the beginning of the film, a conversation between the two establishes Jeff’s success at his job as well as his boredom and frustration at being confined to his apartment for six weeks. Originally, the scene was scripted to take place in the editor’s office. When it came time to shoot, Hitchcock moved it to the exterior of Jeff’s apartment. In the finished film, it becomes a phone conversation in Jeff’s apartment using Young’s audio from the filmed scene.
Tony Randall is born Ira Leonard Rosenberg in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1920. His film roles were mostly comic, starring opposite Jayne Mansfield in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) and Debbie Reynolds in The Mating Game (1959). Then came the film roles for which he is perhaps best remembered, providing crack support to Doris Day and Rock Hudson in the three movies they made together: Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). “Comedy's a serious business,” the actor once remarked. “You've got to be true and funny and not look as though you're trying.”
Rear Window (1954) begins filming at Paramount, 1953. Months of planning and construction went into the enormous 98-foot-by-185-foot rear courtyard—at the time the largest indoor set ever built at the studio. The soundstage floor was excavated to give the space its 40-foot heighth, making James Stewart’s third-floor walk-up actually at street level. A total of 31 apartments were built; in the building where Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) lived, eight apartments were furnished and had electricity and running water. At least one actor—Georgine Darcy, cast as Miss Torso—made her character’s apartment her own little nest for relaxing between takes.