Thursday, 3 February 2011

Review on Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope' (1948)

'Rope' is directed by Alfred Hitchcock and stars James Stewart as 'Rupert Cadell', John Dall as 'Brendon Shaw' and Farley Granger as 'Phillip Morgan'.

What's instantly seen in this film is the length of the shots taken to achieve it. The Whole set, characters and story line are all created too an extreme standard to have a controlled environment to have full ten minute shots throughout the film. In the time of 1948 the reels of film only lasted 10 minutes max, so to work around this Hitchcock made sure the end of the reel was filmed at the darkness of a suited jacket and then the new reel started at the same place. Giving an illusion of continuous filming. '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 continuous shots were a perfect way of creating that play like feel, as the audience watches the film theres a over-powering feel that they are at the theatre watching this on stage.

A very strong part of the film is the scene where the maid is cleaning up. All the audience witnesses is the maid slowly clearing up the chest with the body inside, while shes oblivious to what's inside. The only dialogue that is happening is the guests and host talking about how murder could be the right thing to create a better world, only filled with smart people. As the maid gets closer and closer to uncovering the murder, the audience becomes more tense and that tense grows larger every time she returns. Brandon stops the opening of the chest just in time, at this point, tension is at a high. The way the Maid was directed to move was beautifully teasing, in any other shot the focus would not be on her, but the need to know what would happen, keeps us glued on her.

"Also commendable is the way that Hitchcock is able to still maintain the semblance of a passage of great time, despite it all taking place in real time.... We start the film in broad daylight, only to see the view get progressively darker, until we see the night sky toward the end of the film.  It's a subtle trick, but it works, as it feels like a great deal more time has passed naturally." (LEO, 2008).  This point is very interesting, it is indeed very subtle and without this quote nearly unnoticeable to me. although recapping on the film, it becomes highly obvious. This trick is definitely effective, it really gives the illusion of time pasting a lot faster than is being shown.

The storyline is straight away focused on the murders being caught. This is created by having the murder happen at the beginning, theres no scenes about what happened before, which leaves it up to the rest of the film to unravel. This cleverly makes a situation where all action and storyline happens in one open planned location. Giving that awesome location for one shot scenes.

"It may not be action packed or thrilling, but the psychology and subject matter of the film could be talked about for hours." (Aloisi, 2010)


Canby, Vincent -

Leo Vince -

Aloisi, Michael -

Image Bibliography

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