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 Rupert describes how he would "get rid" of David, the camera pans from the easy chair to the piano. When it returns to the chair about ten seconds later, the chair is facing a different direction. See more »
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 »
These "stage plays" made into movies usually bore me to death but this one was a notch above the tedious and too-talky Alfred Hitchcock films of the 1940s.
John Dall, who went on to "cult status" fame with "Gun Crazy" (a.k.a. "Deadly Is The Female) two years later, was the most interesting character in this film. He played "Brandon Shaw." His partner-in-crime, "Philip Morgan," played by Farley Granger, was the annoyingly-wimpy guy who cracked under the pressure. The biggest name actor in the movie is James Stewart but these other two guys are the main stars.
As people know, this is about two smug, college males who think they have pulled off the perfect crime because of their supposedly superior intellect and elitist attitude. It's based on a true-life event, famously labeled "The Leopold and Loeb Case." No sense going into more details since other reviewers have done that, and done it well.
Suffice to say, this is well-acted, has a good amount of black humor with the dialog and has people that are easy to root against. Two things that are different from normal film fare of the day: it's in "real time" and it's in color. Some criticize the famous director for using the real-time method, but I give him credit for trying something new and bold. That "gimmick" certainly has worked in the successful TV series, "24."
"Rope" is definitely worth a look if you've never seen it, just to see what happens to these arrogant punks. I found subsequent viewings less appealing as more and more of the characters in here (i.e. the old lady who preaches astrology, the annoying young woman, etc.) became unappealing. Stll, I think this is Sir Alfred's best work of the 1940s.
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