In Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window, L. B. Jefferies, who is called Jeff, is the protagonist. He is played by Jimmy Stewart. Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa, is portrayed by Grace Kelly. The film opens with Jeff in a wheel chair. He has broken his leg and is immobile. Accustomed to world travel and adventure, Jeff is restless while he is confined in his apartment.
Early in the film, Lisa proposes that she stay overnight with Jeff. Jeff’s friend Doyle stops by and notices Lisa’s overnight bag. During the scene, Lisa says, “I wish I were creative.” Jeff responds, “You are. You're great at creating difficult situations.” Lisa wants to marry Jeff, but he protests that they cannot have a future together because she wants to stay in the high-fashion world of New York City, while he wants to travel the world as a photojournalist.
To amuse himself while he’s immobile, Jeff begins to watch his neighbors across the courtyard. The person that intrigues him the most is Mr. Thorwald. Jeff thinks that Thorwald appears guilty of something. Moreover, Mrs. Thorwald is nowhere in sight. Jeff wonders where she could have gone, given that she was bedridden. Stella, played by character actress Thelma Ritter, is Jeff’s aide.
To convince Stella and Lisa that something is amiss with Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald, Jeff says, “Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times?” Lisa responds coyly, “He likes the way his wife welcomes him home.”
Eventually, Lisa and Stella begin to think Jeff is right. They are intrigued and become Jeff’s assistant detectives. In one scene, they watch Thorwald and agree that something terrible has happened:
Lisa: What's he doing? Cleaning house?
Jeff: He's washing and scrubbing down the bathroom walls.
Stella: Must've splattered a lot. Come on, that's what were all thinkin'. He killed her in there, now he has to clean up those stains before he leaves.
Lisa: Stella ... your choice of words!
Stella: Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin' yet.
Stella also has a wry sense of humor and does not understand why Jeff does not want to marry Lisa. She tells Jeff that “Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence,” implying that Jeff is over-analyzing the relationship and should let his feelings dictate his actions.
Detective Doyle is a police detective and a friend of Jeff’s. He is extremely skeptical about Jeff’s theories about the Thornwalds initially. Jeff realizes that the courtyard flowerbed has gotten shorter. He deduces that someone—Thorwald—buried something beneath it and then replanted the flowers. Referring to Thorwald, Jeff tells Doyle: “He killed a dog last night because the dog was scratching around in the garden. You know why? Because he had something buried in that garden that the dog scented.”
Doyle responds sarcastically, “Like an old hambone?”
However, eventually Doyle comes to Jeff’s rescue when Thorwald, realizing that Jeff is spying on him, tries to kill Jeff.