Chicago Tribune, Sunday, November 23, 1947, pt. 6, p. 12, c. 4:
THIS TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD
by Philip Scheuer
Hollywood [Special]Funny thing about Alfred Hitchcock. He made his name as a master chase director in such films as The 30 Steps, Saboteur and Foreign Correspondent; the whole world was his oyster. Then suddenly he began to squeeze his actors into smaller and smaller spacesan English manor house in Rebecca, a suburban home in Shadow of a Doubt, a lifeboat in Lifeboat, And in The Paradine Case, just completed, at least half the drama is confined within the courtroom of Londons Old Bailey.
But all theseso the rumor wentwere just a warmup for his next: Rope. Hitchcock would shoot Rope in one room. He would shoot Rope in four days. And if he did, said the skeptics, he would probably hang himself.
Last week I asked him to scotch the rumoror confirm it.
Hitch did neither. He compromised. He said it would not be one room, but one apartment, hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen. For him, that was really spreading himself.
As for the shooting time: Because of the nature of the story, we shall have to rehearse it wellwhereas today most actors and technicians come on a set cold. By rehearsing first, we hope to make the shooting go quickermuch quicker.
The nature of the story is this: Two grown boys murder a third for the intellectual pleasure of it. They hide his body in a chest. The chest is on the stage all the time. The boys invite their friends over. One of them is an intellectual as they areand as dangerous. They invite him for the thrill of it. They live to regret it.
This is not a stunt, Hitchcock emphasizes, but it is a challenge.
The motion picture is nearest in form to the short story. With a book you read a few chapters, put it down, pick it up again. With a stage play you have intermissions.
A movie runs continuously. Rope offers us the opportunity to do a movie in its purest story telling form. The elapsed time of this story is one hour and 40 minutes. Our picture will run one hour and 40 minutes. It is one of the few subjects I have come across which can be told in the same time it takes a film to play.
This is its challengeand its fascination for me; To see if I can hold an audience continuously for 100 minutes.
But why, I persisted, had he given up the chase for the k illthe whole English countryside [or any other] for a figurative telephone booth? Was it a reaction against the chase itselfto avoid being typedor what?
A reaction, maybe, he shrugged. But, he mined me, two-thirds of Blackmail, his first talkie  took place in a tobacco store and a room beyond; the balance was a pursuit thru the British museum. And The Lady Vanishes was both a chase and a drama in one localea moving train.
I would still do a chase if it were different enough, he added. Imagine, and his eyes gleameda chase limited to a single city blockan office building, saywith its effect shown on all the inhabitants of that block!
It is not the setting, but what goes on in front of it that is important. Your average shot in a picture is a waist shot; that is from the waist up. What remainsperhaps 40 per cent of the screenis background and is not even seen, at least consciously.
Two people are locked in an embrace. If they detach themselves the spell breaks. Remember the love scene between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious? The camera moved with them thru several rooms and still remained close. That way it maintained what I call pictorial tension thruout.
The ordinary courtroom movie isolates a few dramatic highlights and calls the result a trial. About 70 minutes of The Paradine Case takes place in Old Bailey, with Valli as the defendant, Mrs. Paradine; Gregory Peck as her counselor and Louis Jourdan as a key witness.
I think you will get the feeling of a trial in its natural order, with everybody present absorbing the evidence as it comes to light, step by step. In San Diego, where we had a sneak preview, there were several gasps from the audience in the theaterquite as if they were actual spectators in the gallery of Old Bailey.
In truth, of course, they knew more than the gallery spectators; they had already been in on the private lives of the principals in the first half of the film. The trial was a stage play, as it were, and they enjoyed the privilege of standing in the wings.
That, he explained, is the secret of good drama: To let the audience be God.