Top 10 Actor-Director Pairings
James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock
It's between Stewart and Cary Grant, two of the great naturals of Hollywood acting, as the prime Hitchcock hero. And while there's plenty to love in the suave, flawed, possibly predatory characters Grant played in his quartet of Hitchcock films (Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest), the four Stewart made (Rope, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo) get closer to the director's core strengths and obsessions. All cast Stewart as a man who must solve a crime even as he is drawn into it.
He falls in love with a dead woman in Vertigo and with the mechanics of murder in Rear Window. Stewart's task in both of these gems is essentially to watch to make palatable the voyeurism at the heart of filmgoing. He is a human movie camera, the transfixed eye of the audience, and Hitchcock's appealing, all-American surrogate.