(fig. 1 – poster)
“Rope” (1948) is a masterfully created movie in which the suspense plays as big of a part as every actor in the film. It touches upon the morbid and twisted philosophy of the perfect murder and takes the viewer for a ride in the dark parts of a killers mind.
Pamela Hutchinson talks about the film: “Rope isn't Hitchcock's best film, but it's one of his most audacious. With this movie, the master of suspense turns a nail-biting setpiece into a full-length feature, and shows us the ugly flipside of the violent thrillers that made his name.” (Hutchinson, 2012)
Reading between the lines uncovers more of the backstory of the actors. Brandon, being the sadist is really committed to the idea that the perfect murder is his superior right and Philip, his irrational partner, is jittering during the whole film. They are clearly a homosexual couple and their characteristics are outdated, playing on the notion that gay men are out of touch with their feelings and prone to neurotic outbursts. (fig – 2)
(fig. 2 – movie still)
Since the film was based on a play Alfred Hitchcock needed to adapt it for the big screen which presented the director with creative challenges. Roger Ebert talks about the problem of representing a passing time and the feeling of the film happening in real-time: “The play appealed to Hitchcock’s sense of the macabre and his fascination with situations involving the inconvenience of dead bodies. But in translating the play to the screen, he had to deal with that unity of time and space. All of the events had to take place in one uninterrupted act, and he arrived at the novel idea of shooting the movie without any visible cuts, so that it would look like one continuous shot.” (Ebert, 1984)
The camera and its movement is truly gripping. It offers the viewer valuable information, puts them into the perspective of the characters and detaches itself, when needed, to offer us a unique point of view. It’s as if the camera serves as the eyes of a ghost, present on this sophisticated party, or it feeds our inner voyeurism and the need to know how the story will unfold. The New York Times talks about the use of the camera: “It swoops and pries about the set, moving from close-ups to long shots to medium shots, with a kind of studied indifference. One high point: While the guests are discussing something of no great moment just off- screen, the camera, catlike, stares at the chest as the maid gets ready to put some books back into it, unaware, of course, that the chest is already fully occupied.” (Nytimes.com, 2015) (Fig – 3)
(Fig – 3: the set)
In conclusion, “Rope” is truly mesmerizing and the viewer is left almost covered with guilt after watching it, as if peeking into a world that’s not entirely unfamiliar, fully knowing how sinister it is.
Fig – 1: Classicmoviehub.com, (2015). Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Alfred Hitchcock | Classic Movie Hub Blog. [online] Available at: http://www.classicmoviehub.com/blog/classic-movie-birthday-legends-alfred-hitchcock/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Fig – 2: Moviesididntget.com, (2015). Hitchcock’s Strangler Trilogy Rope – Movies I Didn't Get. [online] Available at: http://moviesididntget.com/2011/06/01/hitchcocks-strangler-trilogy/rope/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Fig – 3: No Film School, (2013). Understanding the Hidden Editing in Hitchcock's 'Rope'. [online] Available at: http://nofilmschool.com/2013/10/understanding-hidden-editing-in-hitchcocks-rope [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Ebert, R. (1984). Rope Movie Review & Film Summary (1948) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/rope-1948 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Hutchinson, P. (2012). My favourite Hitchcock: Rope. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2012/jul/27/my-favourite-hitchcock-rope [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].
Nytimes.com, (2015). HITCHCOCK'S 'ROPE': A STUNT TO BEHOLD. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/03/movies/hitchcock-s-rope-a-stunt-to-behold.html?pagewanted=2 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2015].