January 16, 2013


An ingenious little thriller, adapted by Hume Cronyn from the play by Patrick Hamilton, and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and inspired by the famous Leopold and Loeb murder trial. John Dall plays Brandon, an arrogant intellectual, who with the help of his friend Phillip (Farley Granger), tries to commit the perfect murder. They strangle an old chum from prep school, and then hide his body in a cedar chest in the living room of their swanky New York City apartment. In order to add a little novelty to their crime, Brandon and Philip host a party (just hours after the murder), the guests of which include the murdered victim's girlfriend and father, another school friend, and their old teacher, played by James Stewart, who turns into a pseudo-detective, unraveling their perfect little murder. Rope (1948) is surprisingly involving and exciting, as stagey as it is. Hitchcock used an interesting, much-talked about technique: unbroken shots (most lasting about ten minutes each), which make the film feel more like reality. It may be a bit of a gimmick, but it doesn't feel particularly gimmicky here. Rope is a wonderfully perverse pleasure. With Douglas Dick, Joan Chandler, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, and Edith Evanson. 80 min.

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