Jimmy Stewart plays a man in a wheelchair watching the goings-on of his neighbors through his rear window. Each vignette is so rich in character development that they could be the centerpoint of any movie in their own right, but since Hitchcock is a master of suspense, he focuses on the murder mystery. Yet how do you generate suspense when the main character is handicapped, unable to interact with or affect what he sees?
As every critique and analysis points out, Stewart's character represents us, the moviegoing audience, partaking in our voyeuristic delight. So it is particularly shocking when the murder suspect confronts him and asks, "What do you want from me? Your friend, the girl, could have turned me in. Why didn't she? What is it you want?" What do I want in a Hitchcock movie? I want suspense, not airtight logic. That is what Hitchcock knows how to provide and that is exactly what he gives us.
Hitchcock is a master of camera movement and framing. He tells stories by what we see and do not see, but more importantly how we see. His camera sweeps the back courtyard, traveling to and fro, stopping and starting, taking interest in lives and losing that interest, exactly as our eyes would investigate. He never withholds information that we would naturally be curious about; he shows us all we want to see and his characters verbalize what's on our minds right as we're thinking it. The suspense comes from us, always thinking there is a trick he will play on us. And that is Hitchcock's trick: our own doubt.
IMDb link: http://imdb.com/title/tt0047396/