Rope review by Tom Blain

Technical Masterpiece

Rope is far from being consider one of Hitchcock's greatest films. Hitchcock had just broken free from Producer David O. Selznick's facist grip and was now doing his own producing. With his new found freedom, Hitchcock decided to experiment with 'limitations' of editing and camera movement. The film is shot in 10 minute segments, cut on closeups of innatimate objects in order to maintain one complete, unbroken timeline from start to finish. Many critics saw this movie as a failure at the time, and some still say its a failure. But the lively dialogue, quick pace of the film, and madness of the characters make this one of Hitchcock's underappreicated gems.

Rope's story is based on the Leopold/Loeb murders, in which two pretentious college students murder one of their friends as a social experiment. Hitchcock plays on the two distant personalities of the murderer's: one wants to push his luck further for the thrill and the other wishes it had never happened. The suspense of the film is played out over a dinner party they host, with the body of their victim stored in the dinner table. Tensions mount as the thrill seeker pushes his guests to get as close to finding the body, while the other is nearly torn to pieces in anxiety.

James Stewart plays the most interesting dinner guests. He was once their mentor whose radical views on superior human beings planted the seeds for their murder. His character controls the party with his superior intellect and cynical sense of humor, but later reflects on his own opinions with a bit of guilt.

Hitchcock, who is notorious, for subtley moving around film codes on senstive subjects planted numerous hints at the two murderers being homosexual. At first view of the film, you will notice their relationship does seem a bit strange, but it is never mentioned outright. With a second or third viewing with this information you will see a number of these clues.

Rope is far from perfect. In the DVD documentary, Hume Cronyn mentions that there would have been even more suspense, had you not known there was a murder at the begining of the film, and build the film around the question "Did they kill the boy? Is he in the dinner table?" Probably a good point, but regardless this is a very fun film that should be good watch for either Hitchcock fans or non-Hitchcock fans.

Also a little bit of trivia: The film they are talking about at the dinner party that they cant seem to name ("Its just plain 'something'") is Notoroious, also by Alfred Hitchcock.


8 out of 10 Jackasses
blog comments powered by Disqus