The Bedroom Window

The Bedroom Window ★★★

I know that I saw THE BEDROOM WINDOW when it came out, but the only thing that I remembered about it was the poster … not a particularly good sign.  But, it’s on the Criterion Channel so there must be something there.  Right?
Once again, a Director tries to emulate Hitchcock.  However, unlike a Brian De Palma film in which he puts his own unique spin on the Hitchcock template, Director Curtis Hanson seemed content to take a “paint-by-numbers” approach.  Many Hitchcock set-ups are duplicated, but with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.  It reached the point during the final hour when I was checking my watch about every 10-minutes.
Here is just a small sampling of the problems … about a third of the notes that I jotted down:
* Steve Guttenberg brings so little to the “innocent man falsely accused” moments.  He says his lines well enough, but I felt no emotional connection to him at all.  Consequently, I didn’t particularly care what happened to him.  I felt that if someone had told him to “play it like Jimmy Stewart,” he would have mimicked Stewart’s speech patterns.
* Two or three times, Guttenberg is alone in his automobile and says out loud what the meaning is behind what we are watching!  This is not the actor’s fault, but Hanson’s fault.  (He was also the Screenwriter.)
* The “targets” of the killer in the bar scenes are so obvious that they might as well have worn red shirts during the original season of “Star Trek” in the 60’s.
* This one truly caused my jaw to drop.  One of the victims, played by Elizabeth McGovern, suddenly invites Guttenberg’s character (who is implicated in a murder and wearing a bloodied shirt) to bed because she hasn’t felt any sexual inclinations since she had been attacked.
* I’ll be vague here so as not to invoke too much of a Spoiler.  A person accused of a murder (with absolutely no witnesses asserting that anybody else had been involved) is not taken into custody because someone else has been arrested … for a different crime!
This is not to say that THE BEDROOM WINDOW had nothing going for it.  Isabelle Huppert is in the cast and she’s quite good.  (With a little effort from the script, she could have been a Hitchcock “icy blonde.”)
If I was in the mood for a riff on Hitchcock and I didn’t want to watch a De Palma film, I’d probably go back to something from Colin Higgins such as FOUL PLAY or SILVER STREAK.  Curtis Hanson can do quality work (witness L. A. CONFIDENTIAL), but his forte isn’t Alfred Hitchcock.

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