James Stewart in "Rear Window"

James Stewart starred in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie "Rear Window."

I’ve been taking lessons from the master of suspense recently.

I started watching a decent number of older movies on HBO Max. For context, HBO Max has a deal with Turner Classic Movies, so there are many movies from decades ago.

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I’ve probably watched more movies from before 1970 in the last two months than in the previous five years. I watched “Seven Samurai,” “Stagecoach” and “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” among others. I really liked “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” with Humphrey Bogart. I knew very little about it and wasn’t sure where the plot was going to go.

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On the other hand, I did not care for “Stagecoach.” It came out in 1939 and starred John Wayne. I think it’s just too old for me. I’m 35. If I was 50, I may have been more lenient. “Stagecoach” is 82 years old though and it just didn’t do anything for me.

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I liked "Seven Samurai" too, but it's so long. It's almost three and a half hours long, and that's a long time to watch a movie with subtitles. I also knew how it ended ahead of time, so that spoiled a bit of it.

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Two movies I watched and thoroughly enjoyed though were directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I watched “Rear Window” from 1954 and “North by Northwest” from 1959. “North by Northwest” stars Cary Grant as advertising executive Roger Thornhill, who has some similarities to Don Draper of “Mad Men.” Thornhill is mistakenly identified as a spy and has to go on the run.

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One of my favorite things about “North by Northwest” was that the movie mentioned Rapid City, SD, a few times. I grew up and spent most of my life in southeast South Dakota, so a reference to South Dakota in a movie was fun. Then, they actually go to Mount Rushmore in the movie.

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I enjoyed “Rear Window” even more. It stars James Stewart as L.B. Jefferies, a photographer confined to a wheelchair as he heals from a broken leg. He spends all his time looking out the rear window of his apartment in New York City watching his neighbors. That may not sound overly interesting, but he starts witnessing things that might not be legal. For a movie that is mostly just looking out a window, it’s pretty suspenseful. Hitchcock does a great job of showing, not telling.

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If anyone has any classic movies to recommend, feel free to let me know at childebrand@iowainformation.com. If you think movies are dumb and don’t want to read anything on the internet ever again, contact managing editor Justin Rust at jrust@iowainformation.com.