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Rope (1948)

Director:
Alfred Hitchcock
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Thriller/Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Repet
RUNNING TIME
80 minutes
Producer:
Sidney Bernstein
Alfred Hitchcock
Screenwriter (based on a play by Patrick Hamilton):
Arthur Laurents
Hume Cronyn


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Rupert Cadell James Stewart
Brandon Shaw John Dall ½
Philip Farley Granger
Janet Walker Joan Chandler ½
Mr. Kentley Cedric Hardwicke
Mrs. Atwater Constance Collier
Kenneth Lawrence Douglas Dick

 

Review

One of few films by Hitchcock that is more noteworthy for its technical aspects than the thematic. Rope works fine on a base level, telling the tale of two spoiled rich kids who commit murder for the heck of it under the illusion that as members of the intellectual and social elite they were entitled to do so. As a murder mystery (or rather post-murder mystery) the film is adequate, with numerous playful situations centered around the presence of the dead body at a dinner party. Not untraditionally, this is what becomes Hitch's focal point, and coupled with Arthur Laurents' delightful dialogue, the film is full of delicate and macabre wit that keeps it alive and shows Hitchcock's brilliant comical timing.

He impresses with his camera too, letting it stroll around the film's one and only set, presenting the narrative with impressive flux, deploying cuts only when the reels would request it (which was at about every ten minutes). The theatrical quality of the piece calls for strong characterizations, but unfortunately, Hitchcock becomes too vague and/or undaring when discussing the most powerful aspects of the script: the implied homosexuality and the philosophical foundation that inspired the murder in the first place - centered around Nietzsche's idea of the übermensch. In both these cases, the film has some tension when concerning the Dall and Granger twosome, but James Stewart is all wrong for his part. He's a fine protagonist as the detective, but isn't able (or willing) to bring any potency to the two aforementioned aspects, both of which would have made Rope an important and edgy document of its time. As it is, the film lacks both the harrowing suspense and the layers that characterized Hitchcock's best.

Copyright © 30.4.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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