Rope

"Extraordinary"

Rope Review


Along with The Birds and Psycho, Rope was one of the very first Hitchcock films I saw as a kid -- a dusty old videotape sitting on a shelf with an odd title scrawled on its edge. I loved it then and still have a fond memory for the film, which led me to explore nearly 50 pictures from the Master of Suspense.

Rope is a complex and dazzlingly unique picture. Subversively based on the Leopold and Loeb murder case, it presents us with two boys (Dall and Granger) who have been taught by their old headmaster (Stewart) in the Nietzchian philosophies of the Superman and the unimportance of the lives of simpler people. Dall masterminds a plot and Granger follows as his half-willing pull-toy; together they strangle a mutual friend, dump his body in a chest, and throw a party for his father -- serving a buffet from his makeshift casket.

More macabre writing you aren't likely to find, and a more interesting way to tell the tale you won't likely see. Based on a British play, Hitch opted to shoot the film as if we were indeed watching a stage performance -- seemingly in one long take from beginning to end. (Actually there are about eight cuts in the film as we zoom in on a dark background -- like someone's jacket -- due to the limit on the amount of film that can be stored in a camera reel at one time.) Regardless, the effect is astonishing, as we follow the characters from room to room and as the plot is nearly uncovered -- an amazing feat considering the enormous size of the color cameras back in the 1940s (this was Hitchcock's first color film).

James Stewart was reportedly unhappy with his work here, and that's understandable considering the character he was playing was meant to be homosexual, as were the two leads. Dall is incredible, however, in his role -- a subtly gay performance that is frightening in its intensity; it's a shame he died having appeared in only eight films. Granger (later seen in Strangers on a Train) is also fantastic as Dall's weaker antithesis. The subject of the homosexual undertone of Rope and its ultimate cover-up is the subject of a fascinating 30-minute documentary included on the new DVD release, wherein the writer of the film also casts a surprising amount of dismay on the finished product. (See the film Swoon for a different, and blatantly gay, take on the Leopold-Loeb case.)

It's too bad the restoration of Rope has received nowhere near the effort of other recent Hitch releases like Rear Window. Especially in closeups, the picture breaks up, and the color has clearly faded. Try not to mind that -- take it all in, and all at once, of course -- and pay special attention to the gloriously complicated set design, which features a model of New York City in the background, complete with moving clouds and a sky that slowly fades from day to night. Amazing.

Hitch on the set.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 28th August 1948

Budget: $1.5M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures, Transatlantic Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Rupert Cadell, as Brandon Shaw, as Phillip Morgan, as Mrs. Atwater, as Kenneth Lawrence, as Mrs. Wilson, as David Kentley, as Janet Walker, as Mr. Kentley

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.