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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Cutting Edge : Rope (1948)

Fig 1 : Rope Poster
Without hearing much about this film before watching it, apart from the fact this film was one continuous shot. Alfred Hitchcocks Rope (1948)  may seem slow paced ,however, Hitchcock as he does with most of his films smashes the suspense to make the audience engaged and wanting to watch more with every passing second.

 “The play depended, for its effect, on the fact that it was one continuous series of actions. Once the characters have entered the room, there can’t be any jumps in time, or the suspense will be lost. The audience must know that the body is always right there in the trunk.” (Ebert ,1984)  Although Ebert
Fig 2
says this as if it is a bad thing, the murder was a central part of this film and the positioning of the trunk always being there could be a constant reminder that there is a body in the trunk and while Brandon is always trying to make the situation as sadistically pleasing as possible, if the trunk wasn`t in the shot the audience could only focus on the speech. Whereas if the trunk is there too, the speech could have an extra impact knowing the body is there while he is speaking.
"Did you think you were God, Brandon?" Hitchcock always smirked that in his films the director was God.” (Hutchinson, 2012) With this quote in mind, Hitchcock may have intentionally made a relatable link between him and Brandon in the sense that Brandon feels as if he governs the stage of this murder and he is in command of every little detail and in sense a God as Hitchcock puts it. This could argue the fact that Brandon feels above the role that he is in the film and is on the same level as Hitchcock and those in the play are only around to be disposed of and to be controlled or have fun with.
At the time homosexuality was seen as a sin and those who were homosexual were portrayed as devious and crafting in film and television. This portrayal follows up in this film. Where the murderous pair are a homosexual couple and one, the dominant of the pair is shown to take pleasure in murder and the art and crafts in making the perfect murder. There is hardly any love shown between the pair, which may be because of this murder driving a rift between the pair and Brandon may be overwhelmed with ecstasy. This is hinted at after the pair commit the murder and straight after he takes a cigarette and groans in what seems an almost orgasmic way. As Canby says, “It's another measure of Hitchcock's wiles that, though the film was made back in the days when any suggestion of homosexuality was supposedly taboo, "Rope" is immediately explicit without actually committing any offenses the Production Code people could object to.” (Canby, 1984) The film isn`t explicit, but, with the hinted touches between the pair and the murder this is enough to hint at the sexual feeling without being obvious.
Overall, despite the slow moving pace of Rope the film conveyed a subtle suspense which left the audience wanting to watch more. Although not as well-known nor successful as his later films for an experiment that still engrossed the audience, the experiment was a success which later inspired much more contemporary films to film in a single long shot.

Ebert,R (1984) Rope at : [Accessed 14/01/16]

Canby , V (1984) 'Rope' : A Stunt to Behold at : [Accessed 14/01/16]

Hutchinson , P (2012) My Favorite Hitchcock : Rope at : [Accessed 14/01/16]

Fig 1 Rope 2 (Poster) [Accessed 16/01/16]

Fig 2 : (Screengrab) [Accessed 16/01/16]

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