One Last Hitch and We're Done
By Kimberley Jones,
12:57PM, Wed. Jul. 9, 2008
At the risk of beating this tangent to death:
The two endings you point to from Rear Window and The Man Who Knew Too Much work brilliantly because they are entirely motivated by character.
Doris Day – trapped in front of an audience of dignitaries, knowing her captive son is somewhere in the house – sings as loudly as she can "Que Sera Sera" (a wonderfully corny song we've previously seen her bonding with her son over). It's like a mother bird warbling to her lost baby to find his way back home – and so he does, by whistling it just as loudly back, thus clueing them into his whereabouts. It's clever, circular, entirely satisfying.
Jimmy Stewart's L.B. is a wheelchair-bound photographer, so when the bad guy shows up, L.B. reaches for his camera – the thing that got him in trouble in the first place, and the thing that's going to get him out of the mess. (Well, with another broken leg.) It's genius!
But I take it you think it's silly ... so somewhere between the ingenious and organic, pre-MacGyver plot twist of a camera bulb flash and the big-budget razzle-dazzle (but often just as character-motivated) climaxes of comic book movies – somewhere in between there is your sweet spot?
Jesus, you're hard to please.