So, Did Disturbia Rip Off Rear Window Or What?

disturbia 3 So, Did Disturbia  Rip Off Rear Window Or What?We’re feeling a little ‘duh’ this afternoon after reading news that a lawsuit has been brought against Stephen Spielberg, DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures claiming that their film Disturbia (the surprise 2007 hit starring Shia LaBoeuf as a teen voyeur) ripped off the Hitchcock masterpiece Rear Window. The L.A. Times (via the AP) reports that "The copyright infringement lawsuit, filed Monday in Manhattan, says "Disturbia" copied a short story Cornell Woolrich wrote in 1942 and the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie that starred James Stewart and Grace Kelly and was based on the story."

Was it only a matter of time until this happened? In April of last year, Andrew Sarris reviewed Disturbia, writing: "D.J. Caruso’s Disturbia… was described to me by a colleague (before I caught a studio screening) as a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) for today’s teenage audiences." So did it take a year and a half to get together the lawsuit, which is being brought by the estate of Sheldon Abend, which owns the rights to Rear Window? Or did Abend’s estate guardians happen to cozy up with a Disturbia DVD over the weekend and suddenly realize that actually, these two films do have many eerie similarities? How’d they miss the hype last time around? Jeez, people really don’t read newspapers anymore, do they?


  1. Now the similarities between “Rear Window” and “Disturbia” are far
    more obvious than “Eagle Eye” and “North By Northwest” (with the latter
    pair, it’s more about the plot energy than the specific story points)
    but it is interesting that Caruso seems to be spending some considerable
    study time in the Hitchock library. Hey, it worked for Brian DePalma.