Brandon and Philip are two young men who share a New York apartment. They consider themselves intellectually superior to their friend David Kentley and as a consequence decide to murder him. Together they strangle David with a rope and placing the body in an old chest, they proceed to hold a small party. The guests include David's father, his fiancée Janet and their old schoolteacher Rupert from whom they mistakenly took their ideas. As Brandon becomes increasingly more daring, Rupert begins to suspect. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although the film lasts about 80 minutes and is supposed to be in "real time", the time frame it covers is actually longer - a little more than 100 minutes. This is accomplished by speeding up the action: the formal dinner lasts only 20 minutes, the sun sets too quickly and so on. The September 2002 issue of Scientific American contains a complete analysis of this technique (and the effect it has on the viewers, who actually feel as if they watched a 100-minute movie). See more »
When Phillip and Brandon put David in the chest, the rope is clearly around David's neck and completely inside the box. But in a few minutes Phillip finds the rope hanging, very far, outside the box. See more »
Now look, I'm not going to get caught because of you or anyone else. Nobody is going to get in my way now.
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Most of the characters in the movie are listed in their relation to David, a character who is only seen for a couple of seconds, and has no lines in movie. The only person who isn't listed in reference to David is James Stewart's character. See more »
Innovation can't quite make this a masterpiece - but it's still worth watching
'Rope', as many reviews here point out, is shot in a "real time" format. The movie lasts 80 minutes and takes place over a period of 80 minutes - with 10 8 minute takes spliced together smartly (such as switching when focused on a back) to give the appearance of one long take. Even current "real time" dramas such as "Nick of Time" or "24" use cuts - and perhaps justifiably.
"Rope" is about two college students - the slimy Brendon Shaw (John Dall) and his friend and sub-texted-gay-partner Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) who murder an old college mate and then, minutes after, host a dinner party to prove their calm, intellectual superiority and their "right" to kill off the lower echelons of society - they believe they are exempt from common morality. Central to this is their smug desire to show off their theory to their old mentor, Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), who is attending the party, and to get him to agree with their theories.
As the movie is essentially confined to one room, and one take, there's a definite "play" feel to the movie. While this worked wonderful with "12 Angry Men", the script and character interaction isn't quite smart enough here to sustain it. There's a lot of pontificating by Shaw, and some fine retorts by Cadell but there's a sense of forcedness about it at the same time. Only 3 of the characters are drawn with enough conviction, and it is only Cadell who we can really admire (Granger's Morgan seems to be too much of a nervous twitching type to add much to the movie). The script does allow us to gape with incredulity at the Nietzsche-esque theories of the "superman" espoused by Shaw, and the gay subtext is amusingly, and cleverly, done but there's an inevitability about the whole story - we know what will happen, it does, and this creates an ultimate lack of tension (when compared to, for example, Hitchock's "Vertigo").
The direction is, as would be expected, smart and - naturally - innovative here. The camera drifts about from character to character, as Hitchock tries his "one cut" approach, and there's some nice background detail (such as Hitchcock's flashing neon signs) to show the passage of time/current theme. Overall "Rope" is well worth seeing - it's not quite a failed experiment, nor a successful one. It's a "curio" which is worth appreciating for realizing why it was never really emulated since.
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