Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rope (1948)

Actors: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Dir: Sir Alfred Hitchcock

I would rate this the best of all Hitchcock movies I have seen till date. A small house, 9 characters, 10 reels of film, minimal or almost zero editing leaving alone the opening establishment shot in the street.

In those days when a reel of film measured up to 10 minutes in running time, this should have been quite a task moving the camera around a small house, filled with characters. There is not a moment when one would feel a jerk in camera movement or the scene progression.

It is believed that Sir Alfred wanted to shoot a play real time and make it a movie, this gave birth to the idea of having a film shot like a play, without any editing. But because of the constraint that one reel of film could only run 10 minutes on screen, Sir Alfred divided his shots into 10 segments and then linked them up on the table. He employed techniques like ending a reel up in a close up shot and then panning off to the next character or close the reel with a pan and start the next one with a close up.

And now the story, two young men kill their friend. They kill because they think superior humans are justified killing their inferior counterparts, just to prove this point. They plan this a perfect murder, meaning they wouldn’t by caught by any chance. They dump the dead man in a chest, put that in the middle of their house and convert it into a dining table for a party. This party is attended by the dead boys parents (his aunt turns up in place of his mother along with his father), his girlfriend, a classmate and their high school master. The whole movie is how they try to cover-up their anxiety and the crime and then finally they are caught by their high school master, the person who implanted the superior humans theory in their minds.

Trivia: Sir Alfred appears during the title of this movie, walking down the road along with a lady

His caricature also appears as a neon sign behind the window of the hall

This was supposed to be a bold movie (at that time) with a very strong homosexual theme, but it is hardly noticeable in the movie.

Sir Alfred shot one segment (reel) a day

He had to re-shoot the last 4-5 segments because he was dissatisfied with the color of the sunset

Hitchcock has been credited both as director and producer of this film

Rope was Sir Alfred’s first movie in color.

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