Monday, 25 January 2016

Cutting Edge - Rope 1948

Fig 1.
 Alfred Hitchcok's 1948 film Rope is about two men who murder their former classmate. They stuff his body into a chest and then display this chest in the centre of a party that they held, in a way to celebrate the murder. One of the men, Brandon is extremely worried about what they have done and its made clear that he's full or regret and fear. Whereas the other man, Philip is proud of his achievement of taking the life of someone who he believes is 'less superior to him'. As Rodger Ebert said "Convinced they have found a victim who is inferior to them, they murder him, conceal his body in an unlocked trunk in their apartment, and then throw a dinner party with the trunk as the brazen centrepiece of the living room."(Rodger Ebert 1984)
Fig 2.
Throughout the film we can see the development of the two main characters very clearly. From the offset we can already see Brandon feeling fear of being caught and some remorse. Whereas Philip is proud of what he has done, he had a bottle of champagne on ice to celebrate as well as hosting a party at his. At this party it is as if he wants to put his work on display almost. He does this by using the chest which contains the body as a centrepiece table. Almost getting a sexual thrill from what the men have done. During the film we can see the characters moods develop, Brandon drinking more and more to drown his sorrows and Philip making comments throughout the night almost hinting. At one point when they are under suspicion he even puts a gun in his pocket ready to kill again to hide what he has done. " Philip, were he is intelligent as he is portrayed, would surely have realised in an instant what a liability Brandon was, but he simply ploughs on with his scheme of breathtaking arrogance,"(20/20 Films 2012)
Fig 3.
Once of the most noticeable factors of this film is that Hitchcock makes the film appear as if it is one continuous shot by using different camera methods to seamlessly changes scene to make it appear as if the action hasn't stopped. This effect gives you a a real feel for the time and you get a basis of the location that the film is taking place in. Due to this method it means that the film involves a lot of dialogue and at times can become a bit tedious to watch. But Hitchcock uses this to his advantaged to allow the audience to get a full understanding of the characters emotions. We can see that Hitchcock had tried to use the effect of a theatre style of film, as said by Vincent Canby "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."(Vincent Canby 1984)
Overall Rope was seen as a experiment for Hitchcock. From the way in which he tried to make a film from a play and shot as if it was a play in real time. This was new for the time and due to the time also had some limitations. Making it difficult to have the continuous shots due to lack of computer programmes for editing. This style of films with the continuous shots is being carried on in today's cinema and is still very successful as we can see from films such as Birdman, which shows Hitchcock's impact in today's film industry.


Ebert. R, -

20/20 Film Reveiws -

Canby. V, New York Times -


Fig 1 -

Fig 2 -

Fig 3 -

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian,

    Interesting review :) It might have been worth also talking a bit about the changing light in the background, as another way Hitchcock gave the illusion of an afternoon and evening passing...
    Just make sure you proofread before posting - your final quote is highlighted in white, and it's almost impossible to read.