Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 December 2006

Rope

Has everyone heard of Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film Rope? It's a milestone for several reasons.
It's the first film Hitch made in color.
It also has (not so?) latent homosexuality as an undertone of the film. Definitely a curiosity in 1948.
It also is a continuously shot movie. Well, to be precise, the movie consists of nine extended shots. They couldn't shoot the entire film without cutting because the cameras couldn't hold enough film to do that back in the forties. The camera, instead, will move close in on the back of one of the actors and then move away and the cuts are hidden (well, they're totally obvious, but still...) while the screen goes black for a second before we move away from the actor's back.

The film stars John Dall (The Corn Is Green) and Farley Granger (Strangers on a Train) as murderers (and lovers?) who conspire to commit the perfect murder and then throw a dinner party. The first guest arrives fifteen minutes later. James Stewart is the one guest at the party who just might be able to solve the murder. It's suspenseful and really intriguing. Farley Granger is pretty near excellent in the picture, the dialogue sparkles and the way the film is shot is so extraordinary that it's worth a rental just for Hitchcock's technique.