March 09, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Rear Window: Collector's Edition

Current Status
In Season
Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart
Alfred Hitchcock
Mystery and Thriller
We gave it an A-

Listen, if you’re a fan of Hitchcock, you have to have Rear Window: Collector’s Edition. Start with the movie — a perfect blend of the intellectual severity of ”Vertigo” and the sumptuous gloss of ”Notorious” — which remains among the definitive cinematic comments on voyeurism. Then there’s the 2000 restoration — the primary reason for the disc, of course — which is a revelation. Miss Torso, Miss Lonelyhearts, and the composer caper about beautifully in their wide screen doll houses.

And as the flick heats up, the buff job shines; Raymond Burr’s cigar smolders angrily in the dark, Jimmy Stewart’s spiral into obsession snaps into focus, and Grace Kelly simply glows. But given that this motion picture artifact is so charged with everything changed after this importance, one can’t help but wonder why Universal didn’t dust off anyone other than the usual suspects — director Peter Bogdanovich and Pat Hitchcock O’Connell, among them — for the 55 minute documentary.

And we wish they’d funneled some cash into additional extras; other than a rambling, entertaining interview with screenwriter John Michael Hayes, there’s not much there. It’s a disappointing thing, not unlike pulling the blinds to watch a spectacular sunrise and seeing a brick wall instead.

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