Movie Fact #860 – August 30th, 2015:

For the third Movie Fact about 1954’s “Rear Window”, based on author Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story “It Had to Be Murder”, let’s focus on the magnetic female lead actress Grace Kelly…who was an interesting woman of her time.

Kelly played the character Lisa Carol Fremont and it was as this character that we saw the only time that Kelly is seen with a cigarette in a film. She normally refused to smoke in films but I guess Hitchcock as director was enough to persuade her. Also Kelly’s character was not in the original short story by Woolrich which had no love story and no additional neighbors for the lead character L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (Played by James Stewart) to spy on. Those elements were created by director Alfred Hitchcock and screenwriter John Michael Hayes, who adapted the short story. Hayes was encouraged by Hitchcock to spend time with Kelly before writing the Lisa character. Hayes admitted that elements of Lisa were inspired by the actress. Apparently Kelly was just all around liked while on set too.

By most accounts, everyone was crazy about Grace Kelly with Stewart quoting , “Everybody just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her/ She was kind to everybody, so considerate, just great, and so beautiful.” Stewart also praised her instinctive acting ability and, as he puts it, her “complete understanding of the way motion picture acting is carried out.” However, Kelly may have been a bit too beautiful and friendly, at least for the Paramount publicity department and Stewart’s wife. See Kelly was known privately as a sexually free young woman, often having affairs with her leading men. In fact, she made everyone nervous by confessing to gossip columnists that she found Stewart one of the most masculinely attractive men she ever met.

Finally, Hitchcock spent a great deal of time with costumer designer Edith Head on Grace Kelly’s look, which was characteristic of his often obsessive relationship with his leading ladies. On a side note, Hitchcock used Head on all of his Paramount films. Anyway, one costume he fretted over was the negligee Lisa wears to spend the night at Jeff’s, quietly pulling Head aside and suggested falsies to give Kelly a bustier look. However, Head and Kelly made only a few changes in costume construction and posture which fooled Hitchcock into thinking Kelly had been padded and approved the look.

So, in conclusion, Kelly’s sexuality and strong projection of her personality led to her character existing, showing her influence as an actress and a woman.

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Published in: on August 30, 2015 at 8:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

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