Grace Kelly’s first appearance in Rear Window is of the most famous entrances in cinema history – but more importantly, it’s the most stylish example of a human being switching on a lamp you’ll ever see…
Watch this scene carefully. It really is something else.
An ominous shadow passes across Jimmy Stewart’s sleeping face. He half-emerges from a dream, and The Most Beautiful Woman In The World is leaning in towards him.
In a 'Reverse Sleeping Beauty' move, the Princess awakens the hero with a kiss. Some erotically-charged murmurings follow, and then Jimmy jokingly asks ‘Who are you?’
At which point she stands and – switching on in turn a pendant light, a table lamp, and another table lamp – announces:
‘Reading from the top: Lisa. (click) Carol. (click) Fremont. (click)’
Quite an entrance, eh? Movie buffs rave over Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 classic about a wheelchair-bound photographer who thinks he sees a neighbour commit a murder – as an example of ‘pure cinema’.
Fashion buffs rave over Grace Kelly’s dresses, designed by the legendary Edith Head – especially the eye-popping ‘fresh from the Paris plane’ number she sports in this scene. And everyone raves about Grace herself (Hitchcock’s associate producer, Herbert Coleman, said her close-up was ‘the most beautiful shot of a woman I have ever seen in my life.’) But as lamp buffs, we like the lighting best. As far as we can make out, the first of the three is a pendant light with a stupendously large gathered silk lampshade; the second is a ceramic table lamp in a traditional celadon colour, not entirely dissimilar to our Calypso...
Pooky's Calypso table lamp - Unfortunately the Calypso is no longer available, but please take a look at our extensive range of table lamps here.
...and the third is some sort of groovy mid-century/Art Deco-ish thing. Actually, although Rear Window isn’t quite at the level of The Big Sleep – in which lamps play more or less all the leading roles – there is a lot of lamp switching-on-and-off throughout the film, especially when Jimmy and Grace try to avoid being seen peeping at their neighbours.
Lamp, with Humphrey Bogart in supporting role - from The Big Sleep.
However, nothing can top that entrance scene, as ‘Lisa Carol Fremont’ fills the room with more of her light and warmth with every click. Such style! Such confident panache! Such... Grace! Something to aspire to, we feel. Everyone should try to turn on their lamps like Grace Kelly – we’re off to start practising right now.
At Pooky we love all things to do with lamps and lighting design. Check out our blog for more articles like this, and browse our lovingly curated collection of designer lighting and lampshades here.