The Window (1949)

73 min. . Director: Ted Tatzlaff. Cast: Barbara Hale, Paul Stewart, Arthur Kennedy, Bobby Driscoll, Ruth Roman.

Ted Tetzlaff’s snappy thriller—adapted from the Cornell Woolrich short story “The Boy Cried Wolf”—straddles the rarely mapped line between Aesop’s Fable and film noir. Nine-year-old Tommy Woodry (Bobby Driscoll) is a fabulist whose lies contribute to no one believing him when he witnesses a murder committed in the Manhattan tenement apartment above his. Woolrich also wrote the story (“It Had to Be Murder”) that spawned Hitchcock’s similarly themed urban thriller Rear Window (coincidentally, top-billed Barbara Hale—as Tommy’s mommy—would go on to play Della Street opposite Rear Window heavy Raymond Burr on TV’s Perry Mason.)

As the principal villain, Paul Stewart strikes just the right deeply unsettling notes of casual, banal evil, while the talented and ultimately tragic child star Driscoll (who appears by “special arrangement with” the man then tightly controlling him, Walt Disney) anchors the thrills with the same animated face later used for reference in Disney’s Peter Pan (Driscoll collected a special juvenile Oscar for his work in this and Disney’s So Dear to My Heart). Tetzlaff, better known for photographing films such as Notorious, effectively matches location footage to practical studio sets, trapping Tommy in a forbidding urban jungle of vertiginous heights, vanishing points, and long shadows.

True to form, Warner Archive delivers top-notch A/V for this 1949 catalog title. Excellent contrast highlights the sharply detailed transfer, and the hi-def soundtrack upgrade well preserves the original mono with no distractions to speak of. No bonus features, but the film's the thing, beautifully preserved.

Aspect ratios: 1.37:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono

Street date: 9/21/2021


Review gear:

  • Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
  • Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
  • Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
  • Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
  • Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
  • Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer