Bedroom Window, The (1987, Steve Guttenberg, Isabelle Huppert)

The Bedroom Window

The Bedroom Window is a modern thriller styled on the film noirs of the 1940’s. After an office party, Terry Lambert (Steve Guttenberg) keeps a date at her place with Sylvia Wentworth (Isabelle Huppert), the wife of his boss who is away on business. While he is in the bathroom, there are screams outside and Sylvia witnesses an attempted assault, scaring away the attacker, Henderson (Brad Greenquist).

Next day they hear of a nearby murder, but Sylvia refuses to tell the police as it will reveal her infidelity. Terry decides to lie and claim he was the only witness, and a case is built around his testimony. In court, his fallibility becomes all too obvious, and Henderson is freed. Determined to seek justice, Terry begins his own private surveillance of the suspect, unaware that he and his mistress are now the killer’s prime target

Film fans derive much pleasure from the career of Curtis Hanson, which veers between the forgettable ( The River Wild ) and the phenomenal (L.A. Confidential). This Hitchcockian drama takes its place in the middle of those two poles, displaying a talent for suspense wrapped around an intelligent story.

Hindsight provides a political interpretation of events – like Fatal Attraction , this is a yuppie under siege saga – but Hanson’s film is no period piece. Guttenberg manages his career best performance and makes a credible vigilante, while Huppert’s character is perhaps more interesting than the performance beneath it.

The standout turn comes from Greenquist, whose bizarre countenance should have marked him for future success – instead, he carved out a career in TV movies.

USA / 1987

Writer and Director: Curtis Hanson

Cast: Steve Guttenberg, Isabelle Huppert, Elizabeth McGovern, Brad Greenquist, Carl Lumbly