johnlink ranks ROPE (1948)

I decided that October will be horror month. It’s Halloween. Plenty of excuses to watch good (and bad) horror flicks. My average movie will go down in quality during that month, I expect. Plus, I noticed that I have watched tragically few classics this year. So, September will be classic month. Not everything will be a classic, I am sure, but I will make an honest attempt to get to a half-dozen(ish) older flicks.

ROPE begins with a murder. Then the two killers have a dinner party to see if anyone figures them out.

I watched ROPE (1948) on 9.1.09. It was my fist viewing of the film.


ROPE was Hitchcock’s first color film, though that is not why it is remembered. Instead, it is remembered as Hitchcock’s experiment in film. He took a stage play then tried to film it all in real time, in as few shots as possible. The film is broken up by moments when the handheld camera zooms into (for example) an actor’s jacket, and pulls back. The take has changed (for the film), but the timeline continues uninterrupted. I like this device, found the wipes to be effective, though maybe not as effective as some of the similar shots from CITIZEN KANE.

I do feel that the ‘effect’ of the film sometimes overpowered the story. I would have liked more of Ken and Janet (Douglas Dick and Joan Chandler), but the device was mostly positive in execution. Plus, beyond the filmic qualities, we get a pretty cool morality play. SCORE: 7


The suspense is, in typical Hitchcock fashion, astounding. We have a dead body inside the serving table throughout the entire movie. Jimmy Stewart is starting to figure it out (in one of the movies two traditional cuts, we suspect he knows) and the movie plays out wonderfully. SCORE: 7


I do not really know John Dall or Farley Granger as actors, but I thought they were amazing. This becomes a Jimmy Stewart movie once his character is introduced, but the acting by all is a joy to watch. SCORE: 8


This is a play on film. I do think we get a few characters who fall by the wayside as a result of the film’s playful shooting style. But the suspense and major character interaction is well written. It does end abruptly, but we don’t need the explanation. We know what happens next. SCORE: 6





~ by johnlink00 on September 1, 2009.

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