Movies - TV
Alfred Hitchcock Can't Take Credit For Grace Kelly's Rear Window Role
By LEIGH GIANGRECO
Many critics consider Grace Kelly’s role as Lisa Fremont in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” to be the best one of her short career. However, while she was Hitchcock’s muse and previously had starred in his “Dial M for Murder,” it was actually “Rear Window’s” screenwriter, John Michael Hayes, who created Kelly’s role.
Hitchcock had recruited Hayes to write a screenplay based on Cornell Woolrich's short story, "It Had To Be a Murder," after hearing his gift for dialogue on radio shows like "Suspense" and "The Adventures of Sam Spade." The original story didn’t have a romance, so Hayes created the role of Lisa to be the girlfriend of Jimmy Stewart’s lead character, L.B. Jeffries.
When Hitchcock asked Hayes about what they should do with Kelly in “Rear Window,” he decided to spend time with the actress for a week to shape the character of Lisa. While he gave her the occupation of a fashion model after his wife and infused his humor in her quips to Jeff, it was Kelly that gave Lisa her energy and sexiness.
In “The Life and Loves of Grace Kelly,” Hayes explained how different Kelly was from the beautiful, but one-note character she played in “Dial M for Murder.” He stated, “I couldn't get over the difference between her personal animation and, if I may say so, her sexuality. There was an alive, vital girl underneath that demure quiet façade. She had an inner life aching to be expressed.”