09 July 2009

Hitchcock | Rope (1948)

Rope (1948)
written by Hume Cronyn, Arthur Laurents and an uncredited Ben Hecht, based on a play by Patrick Hamilton

In addition to this being Hitchcock's first color film -- requiring the use of an enormous technicolor camera -- he also decided to shoot it in an experimental manner. This speaks to Hitchcock's complete confidence in his abilities as a director. I'd imagine most of his peers would have been satisfied just trying to figure how to shoot in color without adding any extra technical concerns on top.

Was shooting the film in a series of long takes necessary, or was it just a gimmick? I'm not sure. Hitchcock wanted to preserve the feeling of watching a play, which he did accomplish as best as can be done on film. But, did the story absolutely need to be told in this manner? Probably not, given the plot. The only suspense in the film comes from wondering if anyone will discover the body in the chest. Worrying about the fate of the villains -- who, in this moveimaking era, were predestined to be punished for their crimes by the end of the film -- isn't really a great generator of suspense. Had the suspense been created from characters the audience really cared about, I think the real-time aspect of the film would've contributed quite bit. Instead of a few-minutes-long scene of a bomb on a bus evoking suspense, Hitchcock could've had an entire 90-minute film playing with the audience's emotions.

Still, it's a strong movie and has always been one of my favorites of Hitch's. (8/10)

Watched the region 1 DVD released by Universal in 2006. The transfer's okay and the documentary doesn't go into quite the depth I'd like.