Movie Review: Rope

Dennis suggests Rope (in Mystery/Thriller, but we’ll count it as a Classic; most of Hitchcock is in the Mystery/Thriller section, but, what, are you gonna claim that Hitchcock’s movies aren’t “classic” enough for you?  Huh?  Yeah…thought so…).  Ahem. This Hitchcock movie, based largely upon the Leopold and Loeb thrill killing scandal, is remembered (at least in film classes full of people who obsess about such things) as an innovative technical exercise; it was shot on one set, is set in real time, and appears to be filmed in one unbroken shot (this is trickery, as the camera couldn’t actually hold 80 minutes of film, but it’s still a nice trick).  Two roommates (John Dall and Farley Granger) murder a college classmate for the experience of it, and to somehow illustrate their warped interpretation of Nietzsche-ian concepts of superior and inferior beings.  Then they invite the boy’s family, friends and girlfriend over for a dinner party, with his body still hidden in the apartment.  Yikes.  The one fly in their collective ointment is that they also invite their former teacher (and the unfortunate source of all those half-understood ideas) Jimmy Stewart, who begins to suspect that something is very wrong. It’s a ghoulishly fun set up, and although most of the supporting characters are colorless drips and, man, what did Hitchcock ever see in the stiff Farley Granger?, Stewart and Dall are great, slightly hammy  delights as they play intellectual cat-and-mouse.  Stewart, especially, gets to play a darker, creepier character than we’re used to- until the film makes him, in a very clunky closing speech, renounce everything interesting he’s said so far so we’ll feel guilty for enjoying ourselves so much.

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Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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