“Spielberg ripped off Hitchcock”

I think it’s a given that any Hitchcock fan who’s seen the 2007 film “Disturbia” (co-produced by Steven Spielberg) will know that it owes more than a little to “Rear Window“…

Well, the current owners of the rights to Cornell Woolrich‘s original short story (“It Had to be Murder” or “Murder from a Fixed Viewpoint”) aren’t happy about that and filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court yesterday…

What the defendants have been unwilling to do openly, legitimately and legally, [they] have done surreptitiously, by their back-door use of the ‘Rear Window’ story without paying compensation … In the Disturbia film the defendants purposefully employed immaterial variations or transparent rephrasing to produce essentially the same story as the Rear Window story.

Hitchcock fans will no doubt be aware of the links with Spielberg…

  • Hitch was a fan of the young Spielberg and hired John Williams for “Family Plot” partly on the strength of “Jaws”
  • according to Bruce Dern, Hitchcock refused to meet the director of “the fish movie” because Hitch was ashamed that he’d been paid “a million dollars” to do the voice of the “Jaws” ride at Universal (“And I took [the money] and I did it. I’m such a whore.”)

On a different topic, whilst doing a quick Google for the 7 basic storylines (kudos to Jessamyn West for posting them!), I came across this post on Google Answers. The “seven basic needs to a story line”, which I’ve never come across before, fits nicely with “Rear Window” (and nearly every other Hitchcock film I can think of!)…

  1. A hero (L B “Jeff” Jeffries)
  2. The hero’s character flaw (doesn’t love Lisa)
  3. Enabling circumstances (trapped in his apartment with a broken leg)
  4. An opponent (Lars Thorwald)
  5. The hero’s ally (Stella, then Lisa Carol Fremont)
  6. The life-changing event (Lisa entering Thorwald’s apartment?)
  7. Jeopardy (Jeffries is attacked by Thorwald)

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