Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Window

1949, US, directed by Ted Tetzlaff

My film-watching has been significantly curtailed since our son was born six months ago, and although I've still succeeded in seeing some fascinating movies in that period, this was the first title that made me wonder what it will be like to sit down with Shay when he's older and introduce him to one of my own passions. I'm sure that this idea came to mind partly because The Window centers on a child - the film is hardly a model of a fine father-son relationship, or at least not the kind I aspire to - but perhaps also because it triggered such strong memories of Twelve Angry Men, a film I first saw in the company of my own father, when I was no older than the protagonist of The Window.

Although not confined to a claustrophobic room, The Window is another fine entry in the sweltering New York genre, with a key scene in which someone may have witnessed a murder on a hot, sweaty city night. If Bobby Driscoll, remains a little too winsome at this stage of his career for the gritty setting, the film still captures an authentic whiff of New York air, from the establishing shots that showcase long-changed parts of the city, to the anonymity that allows one's upstairs neighbor to engage, unnoticed, in casual criminality. There's also a real tension in the climactic scenes, despite one's suspicions as to the likely outcome, with Tetzlaff making fine use of a location (or set) in an abandoned building, filled with hazards and hiding places.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States