Brandon and Philip are two young men who share a New York City 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>
A camera shadow is visible on Rupert as he gives his speech at the chest near the end of the film. See more »
[David screams, to Phillip]
[they put David in the trunk and close it]
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In the end credits, the first credit is for the character of David Kentley who is only seen for a couple of seconds and has no spoken lines. Most of the other characters are listed with a descriptive phrase showing their relationship to David Kentley, or relationship among each other, just above the credit line(s) listing the character name and actor. The description and character name pairings are as follows: His friends - Brandon, Phillip; Their housekeeper - Mrs. Wilson; David's rival - Kenneth; David's girl - Janet; His father - Mr. Kentley; His aunt - Mrs. Atwater. The last character listed, Rubert Cadell, is the only one besides David Kentley without such a descriptive phrase. Also, David Kentley and Rupert Cadell are the only characters listed with both first and last names. 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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