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Since the filming times were so long, everybody on the set tried their best to avoid any mistakes. At one point in the movie, the camera dolly ran over and broke a cameraman's foot, but to keep filming, he was gagged and dragged off. Another time, a woman puts her glass down but misses the table. A stagehand had to rush up and catch it before the glass hit the ground. Both parts are used in the final cut.
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This movie was banned in several American cities because of the implied homosexuality of Phillip (Farley Granger) and Brandon (John Dall).
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This was the only movie James Stewart made with Sir Alfred Hitchcock that he did not like. Stewart later admitted he felt he was miscast as the professor (he makes his first entrance twenty-eight minutes into the movie).
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The theatrical trailer features footage shot specifically for the advertisement that takes place before the beginning of the movie. David (the victim) sits on a park bench and speaks with Janet before leaving to meet Brandon and Phillip. James Stewart narrates the sequence, noting that's the last time Janet and the audience would see him alive.
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Filmed January 12 to February 21, 1948. There are ten shots within this movie overall, running 9:34, 7:51, 7:18, 7:09, 9:59, 8:35, 7:50, 10:06, 4:37, and 5:40 minutes and seconds each.
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This movie was unavailable for three decades because its rights (together with four other movies of the same period) were bought back by Sir Alfred Hitchcock and left as part of his legacy to his daughter Patricia Hitchcock. They've been known for a long time as the infamous "five lost Hitchcocks" amongst movie buffs, and were re-released in theaters around 1984 after a thirty-year absence. The others are Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Trouble with Harry (1955), and Vertigo (1958).
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Considered to be Sir Alfred Hitchcock's most controversial movie when it was released in 1948. Several American theaters banned it upon release.
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This movie was filmed entirely in-studio (except for the opening credits). The clouds that you see out the window are made out of fiberglass. For the effect of a police siren coming towards the apartment building at the end, Sir Alfred Hitchcock had an ambulance come at full speed, from several blocks away, straight to the Warner Brothers studio, siren blaring all the way. The sounds were picked up by a microphone suspended from the studio gate.
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This story was very loosely based on the real-life murder committed by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, which was also the (fictionalized) subject of Compulsion (1959) and Swoon (1992).
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This movie was shot in ten takes, ranging from four and a half minutes to just over ten minutes (the maximum amount of film that a camera magazine or projector reel could hold). At the end of the takes, the movie alternates between having the camera zoom into a dark object, totally blacking out the lens/screen, and making a conventional cut. However, the second edit, ostensibly one of the conventional ones, was clearly staged and shot to block the camera, but the all-black frames were left out of the final print. Most of the props, and even some of the apartment set's walls, were on casters, and the crew had to wheel them out of the way and back into position as the camera moved around the set.
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Although this movie lasts one hour and twenty minutes, and is supposed to be in "real time", the time frame it covers is actually longer, a little more than one hour and forty minutes. This is accomplished by speeding up the action: the formal dinner lasts only twenty 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 one hour and forty minute movie).
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Eleven years after being mentioned in the film as making an excellent villain, James Mason was finally cast by Alfred Hitchcock as such in North by Northwest (1959).
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock dismissed his experiment with ten-minute takes as being just a stunt.
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): appears, though barely if at all recognizable, walking down the street during the opening credits. His profile also appears on a neon sign visible through the apartment window approximately fifty-five minutes into the movie. The neon sign advertises "Reduco", the same fictional weight-loss product that Hitchcock advertised in his famous newspaper ad cameo in Lifeboat (1944).
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Screenwriter Arthur Laurents claimed that originally Sir Alfred Hitchcock assured him the movie wouldn't show the opening murder, therefore creating doubt as to whether the two leading characters actually committed murder, and whether the trunk had a corpse inside.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock's inspiration for the long takes came from a BBC Television broadcast of Rope (1939). The producer, Dallas Bower, decided on the technique in order to keep the murder chest constantly in shot.
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Screenwriter Arthur Laurents claims that the actress that played the maid was treated like one by the other actors and actresses while shooting.
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Final theatrical movie of Dick Hogan (David Kentley).
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During filming, the cast had to avoid tripping on cables that laid over the floor, because of the moving cameras and lighting.
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Montgomery Clift was the original choice to play Brandon Shaw.
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Screenwriter Arthur Laurents assures that in the original play, the character of Cadell (played by James Stewart) allegedly had an affair with one of the two murderers while in school.
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DIRECTOR TRADEMARK (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): (long takes): Before Hitchcock used long takes in this movie, he used long takes in Juno and the Paycock (1930) and Murder! (1930).
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The Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman film of which Janet Walker and Mrs. Atwater are struggling to remember the title for Mr. Cadell is Notorious (1946), which was also directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
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David's name is mentioned seventy-three times throughout the movie by most of the characters. The only character to never mention his name is Mrs. Wilson.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock only managed to shoot roughly one segment per day. The last four or five segments had to be completely re-shot, because Hitchcock wasn't happy with the color of the sunset.
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The apartment set showed up the following year, slightly re-furbished, in the Doris Day movie My Dream Is Yours (1949).
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock made an opening romantic scene in Central Park with Joan Chandler (Janet Walker) and Dick Hogan (David Kentley). The scene was used for the 1948 promotional trailer, but deleted from the movie.
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Contrary to popular belief, and Sir Alfred Hitchcock's own claims in later interviews, there are several conventional edits during the movie: when Janet arrives at the party; when Phillip shouts "That's a lie!"; when Mrs. Wilson enters the room to announce the telephone call from David's mother; and when Brandon reaches into his pocket for his gun while Rupert narrates his theory on how the murder was committed. Some add the cut from the shot of the apartment's exterior (with the opening titles superimposed over it) to its interior at the beginning, but that one does not genuinely contradict the claim that this movie was made to simulate a single continuous take any more than the cut to the end credits does.
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This movie is very different from Patrick Hamilton's play of the same name. Sir Alfred Hitchcock made his own adaptation with Hume Cronyn, and they created new dialogue and characters for their adaptation. In the play, there is no Janet Walker, no Mrs. Wilson, no Kenneth Lawrence, and no Mrs. Atwater. The play takes place in England. Brandon Shaw is Wyndham Brandon, and Philip Morgan is Charles Granillo in the play. In the play, Rupert Cadell is only twenty-nine years old and he is the current teacher of only Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo. In this movie, Rupert looks like he is at least around the age of mid forties. Rupert had been the teacher of Brandon Shaw, Philip Morgan, Kenneth Lawrence, and David Kentley. In this movie, Rupert is currently a publisher.
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Cary Grant was the first choice to play Rupert Cadell.
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The apartment is supposedly located around Second Avenue and 54th Street in New York City. The view out the window is looking to the west.
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James Stewart was paid three hundred thousand dollars, a huge portion of the one and a half million dollar budget.
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David appears longer in the trailer than he does in the final film. Said trailer features footage of the character shot exclusively for the trailer, that takes place before the movie.
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The Zodiac signs that Mrs. Atwater states for the movie actors and actresses she discusses are in each case correct: James Mason really was a Taurus, Cary Grant a Capricorn, and Ingrid Bergman a Virgo. Mrs. Atwater also identifies Phillip as a Cancer (Moon Child), which Farley Granger was in real-life.
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The play, originally titled "Rope" when it premiered in London, was re-titled "Rope's End" when it went to Broadway. The Broadway play "Rope's End" opened on September 19, 1929 at the Theatre Masque (now called the John Golden Theatre) and ran for one hundred performances.
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Douglas Dick (Kenneth) was the last surviving cast member of the film at the time of his death on December 19, 2015 at the age of 95.
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Although this movie was based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, it may have been also based on an incident that happened in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's life. There was an assassination scene in Foreign Correspondent (1940). Hitchock heard that this assassination scene was copied in real-life to kill someone at a place called Tarahan around 1942. This incident was mentioned by Hitchcock in Tomorrow Coast to Coast (1973).
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The only two characters who never mention David's name are Mrs. Wilson, and, quite surprisingly, Phillip.
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Average Shot Length: 435.7 Seconds.
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The cast includes one Oscar winner: James Stewart; and two Oscar nominees: Sir Alfred Hitchcock and John Dall.
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With James Stewart, Sir Alfred Hitchcock made a very different Rupert Cadell for this movie. In the play, Cadell is only twenty-nine-years-old. In the play, Rupert had an affair with one of his students. Rupert is the teacher of only Wyndham Brandon (Brandon Shaw in the movie) and Charles Granillo (Philip Morgan in the movie) in the play. In the movie, Rupert was the "past" teacher of Brandon Shaw, Philip Morgan, Kenneth Lawrence, and David Kentley. In the movie, Rupert looks like he is at least in his mid forties. In the movie, Rupert is currently a publisher, has a romantic relationship with Mrs. Wilson, and has plans of marrying her in the future. In the play, there is no Mrs. Wilson. Instead of Mrs. Wilson, there is a thirty-five-year-old French servant named Mr. Sabot.
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DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Alfred Hitchcock): [Identifying with the killer]: Throughout the movie, Brandon and Philip are at risk of exposure.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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This movie is the only one work between Sir Alfred Hitchcock and John Dall.
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This is one of two Alfred Hitchcock films in which two characters plot to commit the perfect murder. The other is Strangers on a Train (1951).
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This was based on Leopold Loeb; and while Loeb died in jail the system was less rough on Loeb; he was eventually let out for good behavior; married a woman and "cured" himself. Leopold moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico, and married a widowed florist.
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French visa # 8281.
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At the end of the movie, Rupert tells Brandon how Brandon gave his words a meaning that he never dreamed of, and how Brandon tried to twist them into a cold, logical excuse for his ugly murder. Rupert goes on to say that there must have been something deep inside Brandon from the very start that let him do this thing, but there's always been something deep inside Rupert that would never let him do it. This is interesting to note, because when Rupert tells that he is going to open the chest, Brandon tells Rupert "This has nothing to do with you." Brandon also knew that Rupert often picked words for sound rather than meaning. When Rupert was drinking alcohol while sitting on the chair, Brandon tells him "You often pick words for sound rather than meaning."
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