Sunday, 13 February 2011

Rope 1948 | Alfred Hitchcock (Review)

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Fig 1| 'Rope' Film Poster
Rope is a 1948 classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is based on a stage play and was produced as a quick and low budget movie. Nevertheless the film itself is most iconic for its lack of editing and hidden transition every 10 minutes when the reels ends in the camera throughout the feature. Nevertheless the idea behind the feature screams a message that both disturbing and frightening easily engaging the viewers in a way that most film don’t. For this reason as we look further down the timeline it’s easy to see where the film has been reference due to it success as a story and experimentation. 

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Fig 2| Rupert Suspecting Phillip's Irrational Behaviour
The synopsis is of two highly strung men whom murder their ‘inferior’ classmate and hide him in their apartment and invite his friends to have a dinner party as a means to challenge the “perfection” of their crime.

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Fig 3| David Kentley Being Strangled

 The reason for it success is no doubt the storyline that it follows, which can probably only be shot the way it has been by Hitchcock. The fact being that ‘They store the corpse in a wood box that is featured prominently in the midst of the dinner. This creates an excellent mix of suspense and the macabre. Throughout the party the murderers become more unravelled even as they are enjoying their little game.’ - Mat Brewster.  As for the viewer, this type of storyline brings out the feeling of ‘dramatic Irony’ as we see time and time again the box inches from being opened and second accomplice (Phillip Morgan) cracking under the pressure we find ourselves gripping the seat to when they get caught as we our almost supporting the success of the murder and there escape. In these terms the reversal of the viewers’ role becomes rather disturbing as we engage with the fact we all are no different from Brandon and Phillip in this perspective. 

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Fig 4| Rupert Holding The Murder Weapon

 

From another angle the viewer wants the success of the crime as we immediately find ourselves succumbing to the belief of being the third accomplice in the murder - Obviously being a mute throughout. ‘That is to say, he has made his camera a random observer in an elegant suite of rooms in which a murder is being committed just as the picture begins.’ – Bosley Crowther. This ideology is then kept as we go through the feature and in turned strengthened in a sense by the slight judders from the camera, as they walk between the rooms; giving an almost persona to the camera itself. As a whole the single camera works well as it brings the viewer to think that they are indeed in trouble if the corpse is found and making the dramatic irony of more for their. This is strongest as we watch the maid putting everything back attempts to open the chest. Furthermore when we watch Rupert (James Stewart) life the tombola hat to read the initials of D. K. (David Kentley) we squirm at the thought we have been rumbled. For this reason, we find ourselves being no better than Brandon or Phillip as we see ourselves trying to keep out of the danger. Moreover when the film ends as the camera almost falls back and succumbs to fate. This inevitable makes us think we are doomed to ourselves as the nature of the transition is in alliance with Phillip and Brandon accepting their as we like them find ourselves waiting for the cops to come in.  

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Fig 5| Set-up and Stage Of Hitchcocks 'Rope'
The only mixed feeling we get is that of the transition. ‘These breaks he usually accomplishes by having the camera appear to pan across someone's back, during which dark close-ups the film reel is changed. Not all of these disguises are equally effective, as Hitchcock himself later realized.’ – Vincent Canby. To the viewer the weakness of the transition takes us away from our involvement, so much so as we in turn separate ourselves from the feeling of the 3rd accomplice. Nevertheless the strong transition make the film more believable as a POV of someone is never so cinematic and that some shot will be badly angled and our vision blocked by others bodies. If not for some bad transition which see the camera almost change the angle it was panning at the persona of that camera would have remained at total success. 

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Fig 6| Busted: Phillip Holds A Gun As He Plans To Kill Rupert


In conclusion this film has gone out of date due to the fact of Hitchcock ‘Hit close to home’ style. For the viewer the film shows a frightening thought into our inner selves. In turn, are we someone who would really murder or even attempt to hide it for our friends? The simple act that the cameraman ship allows us in theory to be a part of the film makes beg the question to if ‘we all have a dark side in which we deceive and commit the greatest evil’. Moreover are we capable of killing? 
Fig 7 | Dectective Work: Rupert Interrogates Phillip's Behaviour

List Of Illustrations

Fig 1 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) 'Rope' Film Poster
[Film Poster] From: Rope


Fig 2 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) Rupert Suspecting Phillip's Irrantional Behaviour
[Film Still] From: Rope


Fig 3 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) David Kentley Being Strangled
[Film Still] From: Rope

Fig 4 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) Rupert Holding The Murder Weapon
[Film Still] From: Rope

Fig 5 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) Set-up and Stage Of Hitchcocks 'Rope'
[Set Shot] From: Rope

Fig 6 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) Busted: Phillip Holds A Gun As He Plans To Kill Rupert
[Film Still] From: Rope

Fig 7 Hitchcock Alfred (1948) Dectective Work: Rupert Interrogates Phillip's Behaviour
[Film Still] From: Rope
Bibliography

Brewster, Mat. Rope
 (Accessed on 13.02.11)

Canby, Vincent.(1984) Rope

http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/060384hitch-rope-reflection.html
 (Accessed on13.02.11)

Crowther, Bosley (1948) Rope

http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/081748hitch-rope-review.html
 (Accessed on 13.02.11)



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