Sunday, 27 January 2013

Storytelling and Commission: Rope - Review

In 1948 Alfred Hitchcock directed a thriller movie titled Rope. It is a production based on a play with the same title, by Patrick Hamiltion. 

Alfred Hitchcock was a British director and producer best known for his original and fresh approach to horror and thriller genres. After moving to Hollywood in 1939 Hitchcock founded Transatlantic Pictures and Rope was the first movie to be released under the Transatlantic Pictures' name. 

Based on real-life, the Leopold and Loeb case, the story was made into a play. Hitchcock wanted to keep the theatrical feeling within the movie and that's when his biggest experiment's begun. Canby states that in the quotation:
„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 whole production looks like it's been directed as one unbroken and continuous act, however the film magazines could only hold eight minutes of film. The director had to find ways to make a transition between every eight minutes of footage. Unfortunately many of these scenes (ex. character standing in front of the camera, covering the whole scene with black colour) only drew unintentional attention to themselves, leading the whole experiment to failure. 

Although Hitchcock's experiment was not fully successful, the production itself remains as a piece of excellent work. McElligott reckons it's due to the story Rope was based on:
„Still, the movie works because of the strength of the source material, adapted to the screen by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents” (McElligott, 2005). Not only did the story work as a play and movie production because of the authenticy of evens, but also because of the main actors excellent performance. Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) kill their friend David Kentley (Dick Hogan) without hesitation, believing they are superior human beings. Their plan begins to fall apart when Phillip starts to feel the guilt for what's been done. The way both actors performed is persuasive and builts the tension. The viewer can almost feel the stress and emotions which built around the trunk with the body hidden inside. This aspect of the movie covers the failure of Hitchcock's experiment. 

Rope might not be Hitchcock's best and the most popular production, however it can easily be enjoyed by the audience due to its plot and visual aspects. Even though Hitchcock's experiment failed, it can also be considered as the movie's unique value and uncommon attribute. 
As Becker states in his review:
„It may not be Hitchcock's most atyistic picture, but Rope is certainly one of his most fascinating” (Becker, 2012), it's hard not to agree with this statement. Rope creates an unique kind of anticipation and consists of an underlying irony.

. Quotes:
* Canby, Vincent (1984) online source:
* McElligott, Paul (2005) online source:
* Becker, David (2012) online source:
2. Stills:
* Poster:
* Still1:
* Still2:

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sam - just some advice; I don't think these quotes are actually 'opening up' this film in a particularly interesting way; evidence in academic writing needs to earn its place; it's not a mechanical process, it's a magical one - a new point-of-view opening something up in a way that makes you think about it in completely different ways. Maybe you need to dig a little deeper in terms of film critique before you write reviews so you've actually got some new tools by which to a) write an original review and b) enjoy the process of writing more genuinely... for example, just have a quick read of this

    SO many great discussion points and ideas to explore in such a short piece! is a nicely academic, really useful resource - a great starting point.

    Let's see some original thinking, Sam - some exploration and scholarship and juicy research! Great reading encourages great writing!