The Cutting Edge Film Programme


Figure 1 Rope was an American thriller film made in 1948 and was directed by Alfred Hitchock. The story revolves around the characters Brandon and Philip who murder a previous classmate and hide the body in a chest in the centre of the living room whilst hosting a party. The idea was formed by conversations previously made with prep-school housemaster, publisher Rupert Cadell, their discussions revolved around the concepts of Nietzsche's Übermensch and the art of murder- ‘The clear-cut lines between good and evil would have been tidily laid out with the entrance of James Stewart as Rupert Cadell, the professor who planted the seed in the murderers' minds, yet the picture's moral complexity stems from the way Hitchcock employs the continuously mobile camera to keep the moral issues at hand from hardening into reductive labels’ (Fernando, 2006)

Figure 2

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

Alfred Hitchcock was best known for the production of this film and is described as one of the best experimental films ever made. The use of camera angles and the editing replicates the act of the play which Hitchcock intended to do, and created the film as if it was one long continuous shot. ‘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, 2000). When filming, the film crew could simply put away the walls from the set as they were on rollers to fit the camera in set, and then silently roll them up again when the actors were to return back into the same shot.

Figure 3 There was very little use of editing in this film and in order to achieve the illusion of one continuous shot, they planned the panning and positioning of camera very effectively and accurately. Each shot was up to 10 minutes long, and the breaks where hidden from the audience. These breaks are achieved by having the camera panning across someone's back, during which dark close-ups the film reel is changed. The obsession to tell a story without the usual methods of montage, or cutting from shot to shot, results in a film of unusual technical facility, whose style and mood suits its subject matter.’ (Levy, 2005) The slow panning of the camera vividly contrasts with the intense mood in the atmosphere that builds up slowly throughout, until the suspicious murder is discovered.

The Cutting Edge Film Programme

Figure 1 - Figure 2- Figure 3 -

 (Fernando. F. 2006) (Canby, V. 2000) (Levy, 2005)

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