Rope

( 8 )

Overview

Rope, Alfred Hitchcock's first color film, was adapted from Patrick Hamilton's stage play Rope's End by no less than Hume Cronyn. Loosely inspired by the Leopold-Loeb case, the plot concerns two implicitly homosexual college chums, played by Farley Granger and John Dall. Their heads filled with Nietzschean philosophy by their kindly professor James Stewart, Granger and Dall kill a third friend just for the thrill of it. The boys hide the body in an antique chest in the middle of their posh apartment, then ...
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Overview

Rope, Alfred Hitchcock's first color film, was adapted from Patrick Hamilton's stage play Rope's End by no less than Hume Cronyn. Loosely inspired by the Leopold-Loeb case, the plot concerns two implicitly homosexual college chums, played by Farley Granger and John Dall. Their heads filled with Nietzschean philosophy by their kindly professor James Stewart, Granger and Dall kill a third friend just for the thrill of it. The boys hide the body in an antique chest in the middle of their posh apartment, then perversely arrange to hold a dinner party around the chest, inviting the victim's family, friends and fiancee Joan Chandler, as well as their intellectual role-model Stewart. As the guests wander obliviously around the sealed chest, the killers make snippy, veiled comments about their deed--never going so far as to reveal the existence of the body nor their involvement in the murder. As all the guests file out, however, professor Stewart begins to suspect that something is amiss. In Rope, Hitchcock attempted the daunting technical challenge of filming the entire picture in one long, seemingly uninterrupted take. Actually, there are several edits in the movie: since a reel of film was divided into two ten-minute minireels back in 1948, the internal reel-breaks are "fudged" by having a dark object briefly obscure the camera lens, sustaining the illusion that no editing has taken place.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Though it lacks the excitement of his best works, Rope remains a solid suspense effort that is recognized as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most technically challenging films. Since the entire story two young men commit murder for sport, hide the body in a chest, then celebrate the effort by having a party whose guests include the victim's father and girlfriend occurs in real time in one setting, Hitchcock shot Rope in a series of continuous ten-minute takes. Furniture and walls were mounted on rails so they could be silently moved to allow for the camera's access. The onscreen action required no less innovation and the cast, including Farley Granger, John Dall, and James Stewart, handles the lengthy scenes brilliantly. Technical merits aside, the picture's real sparkplug is Stewart. The actor single-handedly electrifies the film with his stellar performance as a suspicious college professor. The film is loosely based on the case of famous thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb, who were homosexual lovers; though it is never explicitly stated due to 1940s censorship rules, Hitchcock makes it apparent that Granger and Dall are playing homosexuals. Rope marked two other Hitchcock firsts: it was the first picture he shot in color and it was the first one he produced. The director's cameo is the subject of much debate. Some claim he is seen during the opening credits crossing the street, but the more likely appearance is at the film's one-hour mark, where his famous countenance can be seen in a distant neon "Reduco" sign in the city background. Patrick Legare
All Movie Guide
Though it lacks the excitement of his best works, Rope remains a solid suspense effort that is recognized as one of Alfred Hitchcock's most technically challenging films. Since the entire story -- two young men commit murder for sport, hide the body in a chest, then celebrate the effort by having a party whose guests include the victim's father and girlfriend -- occurs in real time in one setting, Hitchcock shot Rope in a series of continuous ten-minute takes. Furniture and walls were mounted on rails so they could be silently moved to allow for the camera's access. The onscreen action required no less innovation, and the cast, including Farley Granger, John Dall, and James Stewart, handles the lengthy scenes brilliantly. Technical merits aside, the picture's real sparkplug is Stewart. The actor single-handedly electrifies the film with his stellar performance as a suspicious college professor. The film is loosely based on the case of famous thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb, who were homosexual lovers; though it is never explicitly stated due to 1940s censorship rules, Hitchcock makes it apparent that Granger and Dall are playing homosexuals. Rope marked two other Hitchcock firsts: it was the first picture he shot in color and it was the first one he produced. The director's cameo is the subject of much debate. Some claim he is seen during the opening credits crossing the street, but the more likely appearance is at the film's one-hour mark, where his famous countenance can be seen in a distant neon "Reduco" sign in the city background.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/3/1999
  • UPC: 096898480932
  • Original Release: 1948
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Presentation: Remastered
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart Rupert Cadell
John Dall Brandon Shaw
Farley Granger Phillip Morgan
Cedric Hardwicke Mr. Kentley
Constance Collier Mrs. Atwater
Joan Chandler Janet Walker
Douglas Dick Kenneth Lawrence
Edith Evanson Mrs. Wilson the Governess
Dick Hogan David Kentley
Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director, Producer
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Dr. Dinsmore Alter Special Effects
Ben Hecht Screenwriter
Sidney Bernstein Producer
Howard Bristol Set Decoration/Design
David Buttolph Score Composer
Hume Cronyn Screenwriter
Lowell J. Farrell Asst. Director
Perry Ferguson Art Director
Leo F. Forbstein Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Arthur Laurents Screenwriter
William Skall Cinematographer
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
Perc Westmore Makeup
William H. Ziegler Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It will leave you dangling from a rope

    When two wealthy and bored young men decide to do away with an old prep-school friend, that's bad enough. These two are perverse enough to decide to have a party with his body lying in the trunk they are serving food from. And if that's not enough, the guest list includes the girlfriend, their friend's parents, the girlfriend's ex-boyfriend and the housemaster from their prepschool (James Stewart). Hithcock does an amazing job, once again, of having this whole film take place from this one apartment. You see the two young men start fighting each other as the evening wears on and people start asking questions. It is a night fraught with tension right up to the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Story of the Perfect Murder Directed Perfectly

    This film was fantastic! I had seen it when I was much younger and remembered it being good, but having just re-watched it I was struck by how much it felt like a filmed play. The very long shots helped establish the real-time aspect of this thrilling story and Hitchcock's brilliant directing really shines. Great performances all around and with any Hitchcock picture, every moment feels like it was carefully thought out and executed for the greatest effect. Watching Jimmy Stewart (Rupert) piece together the evidence was as exciting as watching John Dall (Brandon) and Farley Granger (Phillip) try to keep it together. I've read that Hitchcock wasn't particularly fond of this film, and I'll grant that he certainly has created better films, but I'd take an evening of Rope over an evening of Final Destination 3 any day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great job of cast and acts, a bit grotesque, but great Hitchcock film

    Great, but a bit grotesque especially when Brandon tied up some books for David's dad with the same rope that he had used to kill David with, and then stuffing the body under a coffin that they serve a dinner on (inviting all of David's friends and parents) but overall it was great cast. I kept thinking, 'when will he find out?' all during it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Technologically top notch with ok storyline

    I love Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart solo and better together, but their first collaboration could have been better. Jimmy Stewart holds the picture together with his top notch performance as the curious boarding school head master to John Dall and Farley Granger. The storyline is a little grotesque, but enjoyable with Hitch's first crack at color films, and long, uncut takes in the scenes using thousands of feet of film at once. Good!

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    Posted May 27, 2009

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    Posted May 3, 2009

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    Posted April 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews