Monday, October 19, 2009

ROPE (1948)

“Murder is an art. And as such, the privilege of committing it should be reserved for those few who are really superior individuals and the victims, the inferior of beings whose lives are unimportant anyway.”

Rope was Alfred Hitchcock’s first movie in color and his first as an independent producer-director and perhaps the shortest in length with the duration less than one hour and thirty minutes. However the plot of the film was play adaptation, it was base on true story where two Chicago school boys committed a murder just for the sake of thrill and excitement under the misunderstanding of Nietzsche’s philosophy of the superman taught by their teacher. Even Hitler wrongly interpreted his philosophy and the horror he brought to the world is dark chapter of history.

Hitchcock personally wanted Cary Grant to play the role of Stewart and Montgomery Cliff for one of the boys but both of them refused it since the original English play had lot of homosexual undertone between two lead characters. But to present it to puritan conventional American audience Hitchcock had cleverly avoided the tone with his camera angles. James Stewart did this first film with Hitchcock and it’s quite surprising that among all of Master Hitchcock’s most popular and acclaimed films its Stewart who played the main lead. From the very entry of Stewart, the film becomes intriguing one for the culprits played quite wonderfully by Farley Ganger and John Dall.

Shooting the film was experimental and challenging one for Hitchcock as it was adaptation of play where Hitchcock linked all the film’s component into a single action inside an apartment. Hitchcock revealed that it was this film where in order to shoot even ten minutes of the film we had to move camera 25 to 30 times and have to change the furniture positioning.

It’s not suspense film as in the first scene we witness the crime and criminals but the tension lies in how they got caught. Another powerful element to watch in the film is- use of the camera giving us enough clues why Hitchcock is genius.


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