Alfred Hitchcock „Rope“ film review
80 minutes mystery/drama/crime movie “Rope” (1948) is one of the last and the best films of Alfred Hitchcock. The story is about two New Yorkers, who murder their friend David by strangling him with a rope. Just after a murder two young, good looking men throw a party and hide corpse in the antique book chest. The party guest list includes victim’s father and fiancée. The strangest thing in the movie is that food and drinks are served on the book chest, in which David’s body is hidden. All action is in one room, which contains big window and gives a wonderful Manhattans view. The fact that all the action is just in one place, makes film quite unusual and slow. “Hitchcock was interested in seeing whether he could find a cinematic equivalent to the play, which takes place in the actual length of time of the story.” (Canby, 1984) The slowness of the movie and the fact, that there is a corpse in the middle of the party makes film really tense. Hitchcock proves that raveling “the secret” at the end of the movie; it is not the only way to make viewers interested and shocked. He surprised audience with revealing the secret at the beginning of the movie, what makes movie tense every second. It seems like any second the murder can be revealed, because party guests start to miss David and one of them, Rupert becomes incredibly suspicious.
Furthermore, at first five minutes the movie seems really unemotional, however later it really involves the viewer. Probably the reason why, is the way movie was filmed. “In an ordinary movie, closer shots indicate more intensity, longer shots are more objective. Camera movement helps establish mood.” (Ebert, 1984) Camera is standing in the way it looks that a viewer is a part of the movie. It mostly shows faces and half body during conversations, what we used to see while standing next to another person. Second of all, as mentioned before, the time line is slow, what gives us a taste of the reality, and at some points makes as forget we are actually watching a movie. It seems that the movie is barely edited, what makes this film different from other movies and again gives as a feeling we actually in this room in Manhattan. The only moments, were views of camera was showing through the guests backs and on the screen we were be able to see just black suit, the camera angle or time line were changed. These one of the moments which makes us realize that the movie is actually edited.
The last but not least, if we would look at the 1940’s, when the movie was created we can see that Alfred Hitchcock not just broke the rules by his filming methodology, but also touching the topic of homosexuality, what was not common at that time. “Though the film was made when any suggestion of homosexuality was taboo, 'Rope' is explicit without actually committing any offenses the Production Code could object to. Brandon, who dominates his homosexual lover, Philip, strangles David with ordinary clothesline. David's only crime seems to be that he's 'ordinary,' i.e. engaged to be married. It's OK to be “normal” but not “ordinary,” because “ordinary” means being boring and average.” (Levy, unknown)
Canby, Vincent (1884), A. Hitchcock’s “Rope” film review (online) http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/03/movies/hitchcock-s-rope-a-stunt-to-behold.html?pagewanted=all [accessed 06/02/2012]
Ebert, Roger (1884), A. Hitchcock’s “Rope” film review (online) http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19840615/REVIEWS/811069998/1023 [accessed 06/02/2012]
Levy, Emanuel (unknown), A. Hitchcock’s “Rope” film review (online) http://www.emanuellevy.com/review/rope-4/ [accessed 06/02/2012]
List of Illustrations
Figure 1, wikipedia.org, (unknown) A. Hitchcock’s “Rope” poster (online) http://http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8e/Rope2.jpg [accessed 06/02/2012]
Figure 2, wwwcinemastyle.blogspot.com (online) http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_meAn67jJEs0/SiIfomM9htI/AAAAAAAAAiM/PpnmW4NAdH8/s1600/Rope_1948_33%2Bcrop.jpg [accessed 06/02/2012]
Figure 3, classicmovieman.blogspot.com, (2011), shot from A.Hitchcock's film "Rope" http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Dv0yvtjG_oE/TZKOGEinlNI/AAAAAAAACT0/yMV8OYQrlrw/s1600/Rope+cast.jpg [accessed 06/02/2012]