Better Know Your Hitchcock: Rope
Dr. Girlfriend and I are on a major Alfred Hitchcock kick, and we thought we’d take you along for the ride. We’re going on a tour of some of his most famous films, a journey that’s sure to be filled with thrills, chills and other stuff that people thought would look good on a movie poster. I’m not going to bother scoring or all out reviewing Hitchcock’s movies because they’re all great, all classics – this is more of an awareness campaign reminding you to check ’em out.1948’s Rope is not only unique for a Hitchcock movie, but it’s just a visually unusual movie in general. It doesn’t just look like you’re watching a play… you’re pretty much just watching a play. The entire thing takes place on one set and each shot lasts for minutes at a time, and maybe half of the edits are masked so you almost can’t tell that they cut. Instead of letting things play out in a wide shot and then switching to coverage, the movie will mostly just play out in wide and medium shots and when it comes time for an edit (because movie cameras of the day could shoot for about 10 minutes and then they’d have to change the film), they’d move the camera onto someone’s back or a piece of furniture to block the frame for a second, and then they’d cut and start right back up in the same spot and edit it together so the audience wouldn’t notice. I guess it’s worth mentioning that this is the oldest Hitchcock movie I’ve seen that’s in color – not sure if it’s his first color movie or not. It’s an experimental movie in look, although not necessarily in subject – the script is the standard sort of stuff Hitchcock always picks.
The movie is predictable from start to finish, but it’s still fun to watch. Jimmy Stewart is the only actor in the film I’m familiar with, and he fills a similar role in the movie – he’s the star, so he has the best lines, is the smartest character. It’s just fun to watch him – even when he’s not speaking, he makes a face that tells you everything you need to know.
Rope just sort of runs out the clock, and yet, it’s still immensely entertaining. We highly recommend you give it a look.
I love these old trailers – maybe half of the footage in the trailer appears in the actual film and someone always breaks the fourth wall. Good stuff, James Stewart – good stuff!