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Saturday, 5 February 2011

Film Review - Rope (1948)

Fig.1 Rope Film Poster

Alfred Hitchcock 1948 film "Rope" is acknowledged as one of his more experimental films. This was an adaption of Patrick Hamilton’s stage play which itself was based on a true story, the famous Leopold and Loeb murder case.

The victim screams bringing us inside the apartment. There we find Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan have murdered their friend David Kentley. In an act to prove they are more superior to others. They decide to hide his body in a large wooden chest in the middle of their apartment. The friend’s vicious act was inspired by their college professor Rupert Cadell. Who himself believes that murder should be a socially acceptable practice in certain situations.

Fig. 2 Rope Film Still

Later that evening, Brandon and Phillip are hosting a dinner party that will take place in their apartment. Brandon decides that it would be amazing to serve the dinner buffet on the chest itself. This kind of chilling touch according to Brandon, will convert a work of art into a master piece. The dinner guests include Kentley’s father and aunt as well as his fiancé and her ex-boyfriend. With the final guest, their mentor Rupert, who Brandon believes may be able to appreciate the twisted situation. After the guests arrive, the evening grows intense as David’s friends and family worry over his non appearance at the party. With the subject of murder continuously being raised in the conversations, and the agitated behaviour of Phillip, Rupert starts to become suspicious and begins to put 2 and 2 together.

Fig. 3 Rope Film Still

The scenes in the film are no more than about a series of short takes, edited together to created the appearance of one continuous shot throughout the film. This makes the viewers feel like they are watching a stage performance not an actual film. "The reason the film works so well however, is not a benefit of the script, but more of the manner in which it was filmed." (Pitt,2005) This style of directing that Hitchcock used was the first film to attempt this style of filmmaking. Not making him the last as several other directors have continued to used this style of filmmaking.

There is one particular scene in the film when the camera is place in a particular position, we watch as the maid is cleaning off the top of chest. With the intention of putting a number of books back in the wooden chest. The view we are seeing is that which is where they placed the body at the beginning of film. With this style of directing that Hitchcock uses it make this scene incredibly suspenseful as we watch and wait for what is about to happen. Any other director could have decided to edit this scene so that it did not seem as long but this would have taken away some of the suspense.

Fig 4. Rope Film Still

"Rope" is one of Hitchcock’s more experimental films. With it being set in just one location and that it was shot in 8 minute takes, which appear to merge into each other. It can be said that "Rope as an experiment with it not only being his first film in colour but also that it was shot in long 8 minute takes and this technique which combined with it being set in one location, predominantly a single room really delivers that feel of being a play" (MovieScene, 2008)

Fig. 5 Rope Film Still

List of Illustrations

Figure 1. Rope (1948)Rope Film Poster. (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
Figure 2. Rope (1948)Rope Film Still. (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
Figure 3. Rope (1948)Rope Film Still. (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
Figure 4. Rope (1948)Rope Film Still. (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
Figure 5. Rope (1948)Rope Film Still. (Accessed on 05/02/2011)


Pitt, Jason (2005) Rope 1948 (Review) (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
MovieScene (2008) Shaw & Morgan Tie The Knot and get Hitch-ed (Rope 1948) (Accessed on 05/02/2011)
Croce  Fernando F. (2006) Rope (review) http://www.slantmagazine (Accessed on 05/02/2011)

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