Within Four Walls: Classic Movies About Being Stuck Indoors

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A woman looks out of a window at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)
A woman looks out of a window at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)

We're nearing two months since Gov. Baker first issued the stay-at-home advisory for Massachusetts. That's a lot of time stuck at home, inside the same four walls and sometimes with the same few people. Movies are a great escape, to a point. But the experience of being stuck inside your house or apartment, or even a single room, has made films like Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" feel very relatable.

The 1954 movie is about a man confined to his home, not by a pandemic but by a broken leg. The only pastime he has is looking out the window.

It's also beloved by Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr. We asked Burr to run down his other favorite movies about being stuck indoors.

Interview Highlights

Rear Window, 1954

“It literalizes [sic] being stuck inside. He's got a broken leg, it's in a cast from his ankle to his hip. He can't go anywhere. It's not like, you know, he could step outside and walk the dog if he wanted. He is stuck there… One of the many great things about that movie is that as he stares across the courtyard and looks at all the people in all the apartments, each one represents a kind of movie reflecting his anxieties about being married or being left alone or, you know, all the things that are going through his head.”

12 Angry Men, 1957

“The great thing about it is they can't leave that room. It plays out in real time. And the drama of it is, eventually each character’s true self will reveal itself. And that's the tension. And also there’s the tension of how they're going to resolve this criminal case. But really, it's about personality. And the greatest single-room movies are about clashing personalities.”

"The greatest single-room movies are about clashing personalities.”

Ty Burr, Boston Globe Film Critic

Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?, 1966

“Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is so brilliantly written by Edward Albee and so incredibly well played by Burton and Taylor and George Siegel and Sandy Dennis. It's a heightened version of some of the crap that we go through in our own lives. But it's heightened, it's operatic, it's epic, even though it's at close quarters. It's almost iconic, legendary. It's just our small problems writ large. And that that can be fascinating to watch.”

The Hateful Eight, 2015

“It's eight incredible, hambone actors stuck in a shack in the middle of the winter and they can't get out and they're all out-acting each other. And it's Sam Jackson Jr. and Bruce Dern, and, you know, it's hilarious for just taking this idea of people stranded in a room where they can't get away from each other, to the utmost of Tarantino-ness.”

This article was originally published on May 14, 2020.

This segment aired on May 14, 2020.


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