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Rope Film Review

Rope Film Review

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Published by Jake Bryant
Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: Jake Bryant on Jan 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dir. Alfred Hitchcock,

Film Review

Storytelling & Commission

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

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Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’ is a 1948 American thriller film that was based on the 1929 Patrick Hamilton play which shares the same name. The play was inspired by the real-life murder of a 14 year old boy by two University students, Leopold and Loeb, whose desire it was to perform the perfect murder. ‘Rope’ marked Hitchcock’s first Technicolor film and became notable for taking place in real time, being edited in a way which gave the illusion that the production was a filmed as one continuous shot. Critic McCarthy gives an opinion stating that; “Rope is Hitchcock's underrated classic that contains some of the most unique filmmaking of its time.” (McCarthy, 2008) In agreement with McCarthy, Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’ possesses the creative and unique blend of filmmaking techniques that later lead to him becoming a pioneer within the suspense and psychological genres, and arguably becoming the most influential filmmaker of all time. These techniques are first introduced within the film’s opening, providing the audience with a narrative, a genre and set of questions which create suspense. As the film progresses said techniques aid in developing this tension, almost giving off a perspective that allows viewers to feel as if they are a character present at the murder. Hitchcock’s camera techniques develop this perspective which feels like a firstperson experience by the way in which they suggest a personal attachment to the drama in which you are observing as a spectator. Throughout the film, the camera follows the two main characters religiously, making the story a personal incident that grants an audience the ability to the share the experiences that are on screen.

This connection between film and audience is more of a self-induced judgement, as perhaps to some it seems that Hitchcock’s primary focus is to develop a continuously moving film that builds on tension and storytelling, unpacking the perfect murder and how the transgression deviates. Canby believes that; “Hitchcock is less concerned with the characters and their moral dilemmas than with how they look, sound and move, and with the overall spectacle of how a perfect crime goes wrong.” (Canby, 1984) In a sense, Canby’s statement can be interpreted in a way that reflects the success of ‘Rope’ due to Hitchcock’s filming conventions. Canby implies that the camera work debatably projects the unfolding of the ‘overall spectacle of how a perfect crime does wrong’ to audiences purely as part of the storytelling, however, the characters and moral dilemmas are additionally expressed in a way which portrays a concern that Hitchcock perhaps developed on. Throughout the film, the continuous camera movement constitutes the cinematography in a way that feels as if audiences are only briefly meant to be introduced to supporting characters. This aspect appears to be developed on purpose, perhaps placing a viewer in a position where they’re meant to experience meaningless conversation while have the suspense build due to the knowledge of the hidden body.

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There is also a subtlety throughout rope regarding different areas of interest. As the story unfolds there are numerous hints that relate back to the inciting incident which avertedly result in an effective and unique method of storytelling. A better example of the subtle conventions all through ‘Rope’ is the way environments surrounding change. Wisniewski observes that; “In the space of the film’s running time, the New York skyline goes from sunny bright to evening dark, a subtle visual cue that makes us feel like we’ve watched an evening go by” (Wisniewski, 2012) Without immediately noticing, the impact of the slowly fading daylight provides audiences with a rough time which is perceived as a ‘visual cue’ to suggest the passing of time and in contrast with the cinematography and the editing style helps to give the production the feel of experiencing a whole evening. Additionally, the way the entire film takes place within the same environment brings the troubles and events close to home, arguably suggesting to viewers that the film is meant to be a personal experience.

The conventions that gave Hitchcock the persona of being the master of suspense and thriller are present within ‘Rope’, having a tense narrative and inventive cinematography that effectively compliments the characters and the universal experience that is perceived by audiences. Even though ‘Rope’ is considered to be an experiment on Hitchcock’s part, the film still contains the traditional elements which allowed his work to become notable, and later influential.

Review Bibliography

References McCarthy, K (2008) available at: www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rope/ [accessed online on 16 January 2013]. Canby, V (1984) available at: www.nytimes.com; www.nytimes.com/library/film/060384hitch-rope-reflection.html [accessed online on 18 January 2013]. Wisniewski, C (2012) available at: www.imdb.com; www.reverseshot.com/article/rope [accessed online on 22 January 2013].

Illustrations Figure 1: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8e/Rope2.jpg/220pxRope2.jpg Figure 2: http://robertsnow.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/rope-murder.jpg Figure 3: http://m0vie.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rope3.jpg?w=468 Figure 4: http://m0vie.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rope2.jpg?w=468

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