Jul 1, 2008

Rope


Rope(1948)was Alfred Hitchcock’s first film to be shot on color(luscious Technicolor to be exact). The film is loosely based on gay Jewish child murderers and lovers, Leopold and Loeb. The two young men in Rope, like the real-life lovers Leopold and Loeb, were inspired by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s “superman” theory which the Nazis always ironically utilized. The gay lovers in Rope, the dominant and passive(or the “Butch” and the “Femme”) have an ambiguous gay relationship that obviously couldn’t have been blatant for American audiences of the late 1940s. The questionable sexuality of the two gay lovers only adds to the film’s psychological power.


Alfred Hitchcock also experiments with Rope by making it seem in “real time.” The film has only ten shots giving it a more “trapped” feeling that might cause the contemporary filmgoer to have a panic attack. The gay lovers, Brandon and David, decide to play a game with the family of the young friend they just killed. They hide the young man’s body inside a chest which is also used as a table for their food buffet. Brandon constantly taunts the guests talking about the “art of killing” and the “superman.” The two young men’s professor, Rupert(played by James Stewart), picks up almost immediately what Brandon is getting at.

Although only running a little over 80 minutes, Rope seems much longer. The reason for this is most likely in it’s limited amount of cuts and that the entire film is essentially shot in one room. Alfred Hitchcock was a master of psychology and suspense, and Rope is a perfect demonstration of that. Rope is a good example of the theory that ambiguity is much more powerful than being blatant. This is the main reason why “Hitchcock rip off” hack Brian De Palma will never come close to Hitchcock’s greatness.


Alfred Hitchcock would later tackle the odd sexuality of Norman Bates in his masterpiece Psycho(1960). But Unlike Bates, the young men in Rope are completely conscious of their sadistic behavior. As the viewer(or at least for me), I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted the two young men to be caught. Either way, the suspense leading up to the film’s conclusion was brilliant. Alfred Hitchcock was a director much more interested in planning the stages(as he had stated himself)of filmmaking than the actual directing, and Rope is a perfect example. The film is an experiment in cinematic technique and the questionable behavior of a so-called diseased brain(like Nietzsche himself).


-Ty E

3 comments:

Cinexcellence said...

Rope is a good film. Easily one of the more underrated Hitchcocks.

PATCHS HORROR MOVIE CINEMA said...

I THINK ROPE IS A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF THE MASTER ICON HITCHCOCK. TO PLACE A MOVIE IN ONE ROOM AND WORK THE WHOLE SHOW AROUND IT MAKES IT PERFECT. ROPE IS A VERY UNDERRATED FILM AND SADLY A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEE IT, AND THAT IS A SHAME. GREAT REVIEW.

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