Monday, 6 February 2012

Film Review – Alfred Hitchcock’s - ROPE

Fig 1 -  Poster Art
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope is a Thriller/ Mystery released in 1948 film that immerses the viewer from the very beginning. The film is famous for being one of the first films that has been created to give the illusion that there has been no editing, to give the viewer an experience that is not normal when in the cinema. “His obsession with telling a story without resorting to the usual methods of montage, and without cutting from one shot to another, results in a film of unusual, fascinating technical facility, whose chilliness almost perfectly suits the subject” (Vincent Canby, 1984) Many critiques agree with the statement of Canby, even though the film was seen as an experimental piece by Hitchcock rather than a ‘proper’ film.

Throughout the film there are hints of cold humour, which may or may not have been intended to make the film almost a comedy, one scene where Brandon (John Dall) offers champagne to his guests:

Fig 2 - What would you say to some champagne?
"What would you say to some champagne?" Brandon asks one of his guests at the post-murder cocktail party he's giving. "Hello, champagne," says the guest”

There are many other lines throughout the film that resemble the plain humour, which makes the characters that more interesting allowing you to connect with them as you can see what class their character is raised  in, and what kind of characteristics they have.

 “Rope is a picture in which material has been created definitely for camera movements. Scenes were planned for visual strength, which in turn was blended with movement. The continuous flow of action meant that the eye was occupied constantly. And the elimination of the conventional shifting camera excites the audience by making the picture flow smoother and faster.” (Hitchcock 284:1995) This statement from the director himself, fully explains the reasons for making the film in the style that he chose. The use of the camera angles helps to build the tension in the film making the film that much more interesting and intense. The scene where the maid (Edith Evanson, Mrs. Wilson) begins to move the books back to chest is one of the most famous scenes in the film, as it lets the viewer hear the guests talking about the whereabouts of ‘David’ whilst the camera is focused on Mrs. Wilson as she gradually gets closer and closer to unveiling the dead body.

Fig 3 - Maid and the Chest
The film seems to be one that has grown with time, as when it was first released in 1948 it was shunned by audiences and critiques; however it is now well respected as one of Hitchcock’s memorable films, “Rope is not merely a stunt that is justified by the extraordinary career that contains it, but one of the movies that makes that career extraordinary.”(Vincent Canby, 1984)


Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay by:
Arthur Laurents

Produced by:
Sidney Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock

Thriller, Mystery

United States

James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Douglas Dick


Hitchcock, A (1995) Hitchcock on Hitchcock: Selected Writings and Interviews. USA:University of California Press

List of Illustrations

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