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Friday Five: The Dark Side of Jimmy Stewart

Justin here with this week's installment of Friday Five. Jimmy Stewart is one of the most iconic American actors ever, and when you think of him, chances are you picture George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life or Mr. Smith or Elwood P. Dowd from Harvey. Here are five awesome Jimmy Stewart movies where he was cast against his squeaky clean type.

5. Rear Window

This is my personal favorite Hitchcock movie. Due to an accident, Stewart's character is confined to a wheelchair and stuck within the confines of his apartment for the entire movie. Soon boredom gets the best of him and he plays peeping tom to the theater of his neighbors lives.
4. The Cheyenne Social Club

In this movie, Stewart plays a down on his luck cowboy who inherits a brothel. The movie was directed by the great Gene Kelly and features Henry Fonda in a supporting role. Granted the casting of Stewart in this movie was meant to be cheeky, the thought of The Man who Shot Liberty Valance on the other side of the law is a little too much.

3. Rope

This Alfred Hitchcock gem is based on the Leopold and Loeb case where two arrogant college students decided they would murder someone just to prove they were smart enough to get away with it. In Rope, Stewart plays their professor who suspects that something is wrong at a dinner party and begins putting the screws in to the would be killers to get to the truth. The head games Stewart plays are uncomfortable to watch.

2. Anatomy of a Murder

In Anatomy of a Murder, Stewart plays defense attorney Paul Biegler who works towards getting his client off a homicide charge. The catch here is that Stewart's court room tactics are less than ethical - he coaches his witnesses, gives gifts to the judge, and asks improper questions. This is one of Otto Preminger's best. Here are some more in-depth thoughts about it.

1. After the Thin Man

In this sequel to sleuth couple Nick and Nora Charles' first outing Stewart plays David Graham, the love interest of Nora's cousin. This is one of Stewart's earliest roles so perhaps his image as the "aw shucks" sympathetic lead hadn't been established when he was cast as the killer in this fantastic who-dun-it.

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