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A 1948 film written by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents, produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

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Something staring someone oh you know who about something something

  • Dec 2, 2008
Pros: It is short

Cons: Even the best make mistakes, Rope counts for about a dozen

The Bottom Line:

There is not one single thing I can think of to inspire anyone to watch this failed experiment.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

Rope is famous for its one continuous “take.”  Um . . . to quote a professor of mine who loved movies but didn’t care for plays: a play is just a movie without camera angles.  Rope is a dull play with camera angles that fails as a film and a play (unless play means that a director decided to use a little trick to prove something).

Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) strangle David, a friend of theirs who Brandon considers to be inferior—despite being a blue blood.  As sort of a coup de gras Brandon plan a dinner party to occur the evening of the murder.  At the party are David’s girlfriend, father, and aunt.  In a further attempt to show his superiority, Brandon invites a professor of his, Rupert Cadell (James Stewart).  Mr. Cadell espoused a lukewarm version of the Nietzschean idea of the man so brilliant as to be above morals.  David is sorely missed and the party breaks up pretty much over this topic.  Then Rupert, who had suspected something amiss in the behavior of his former charges returns to confront the pair.  The end is predictable, even still I will stop.

Somehow Netflix decided that since this is a vague Leopold and Loeb type murder story that it belonged in the gay section.  Knowing the film was from the 1940s and was so classified, I thought, what the hell.  I want my 80 minutes back.  This isn’t any more gay than any story of two bluebloods on a night on the town with their heads held impossibly high and their chins jutting out to a point where the mandible is about to detach.  Except for Mr. Stewart, that’s pretty much what the “movie” showed.

One blueblood in a smart blue suit going on and on about how good he is.  The one who actually did the job, a kind of wishpish thing in a red suit, goes on and on about what a mistake.  It is also cliché.  Strangulation, hanging, killing, were in every other line in some sort of droll way as to cause the polite to chuckle a little—one must always be polite.  To carry it over the top, Rupert starts a metronome on its ticking swing like the ticking of the tell tale heart.

Mr. Hitchcock’s oeuvre was movies; suspense was his specialty.  But there are two problems here.  First, Rope isn’t suspenseful.  It is predictable to the chuckle.  It also isn’t a movie.  Here is an admired filmmaker filming a terrible play with a little suspense and adding nothing.  In fact, if you pay close enough attention, there are several moments where the lips and words are not quite in sync.  So this one continuous shot had some sound problems and the actors had to come back for some looping.  Hummm.  It would seem to me that this sort of trickery is just the sort of thing that makes an already tenuous experiment fail.  To make matters worse the end is so silly I want double my time back—I want to say what it is but in case someone uses this diatribe to watch the film, I will refrain.

I’ve never been a huge Hitchcock fan in the first place—I think all of his best work occurred well before Rope (1948).  For whatever reason I usually like to use composers as a comparison and Aaron Copeland comes to mind.  His early work was brilliant, much of his latter work is pretty decent but doesn’t rise to the quality of what he produced early on.  And in the middle, he tried some of that atonal twelve-tone crap.  Rope is 80 minutes of twelve-tone crap.


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More Rope (1948 movie) reviews
review by . June 14, 2012
Just okay; not great
Two pompous young men (John Dall, Farley Granger) commit a murder just for the thrill and satisfaction of pulling off the perfect crime. They hide the body in their living room and then host a cocktail party as if nothing happened. But one guest, their old prep school house master (James Stewart), is suspicious right from the start.      Hitchcock wanted to experiment in filming longer takes, up to ten minutes long, rather than the typical take of just a few seconds. It makes …
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2010
A great performance by James Stewart and an interesting look at how Hitchcock's techniques developed with the use of the camera and transitions.
review by . December 09, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"Rope"    A Forgotten Hitchcock Classic    Amos Lassen    "Rope" is Alfred Hitchcock's first color film and it is a compelling view. What Hitchcock does here and what he has always done so well is to show the selfishness and superficiality of America's culture by giving us two guys who think of themselves as intellectuals. Brandon and Phillip twist Nietzche's words to cover up a crime and then use a party as a fa├žade. The film looks beneath …
review by . December 14, 2008
Rope 1
Though "Rope" is by no means one of Alfred Hitchcock's best known films it ranks as one of my favorites.  The story revolves around two college students who decide to commit murder "just for the fun of it".  To make things even more interesting the boys decide to have a party with their deceased friends corpse hidden right in the the room!   They are so bold as to invite the victims fiancee and parents as well!   It looks for all the world …
review by . June 01, 2007
"Rope," Alfred Hitchcock's first color film, is an adaptation of the play by Patrick Hamilton, which was re-named "Rope's End" when it hit Broadway. It is also loosely based upon the real-life Leopold/Loeb case. Like Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder," "Rope" feels like it was created for the stage, using only one set and virtually no music. One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is that it was filmed in "real time," meaning that the 80 minutes which the film spans is intended to be a straight …
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Paul Savage ()
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I name and describe everything and classify most things. If 'it' already had a name, the one I just gave it is better.
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About this movie


Rope is a 1948 film written by Hume Cronyn and Arthur Laurents, produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring James Stewart, John Dall and Farley Granger. It is the first of Hitchcock's Technicolor films, and is notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot.

The film was based on the play Rope by Patrick Hamilton, which was said to be inspired by the real-life murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks in 1924 by two University of Chicago students named Leopold and Loeb who simply wanted to show that they could commit a murder and get away with it. However, they were both arrested and received long prison terms.

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Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genre: Drama
Release Date: August 28, 1948
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 1hr 25min
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