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Inspired by a real-life murder case, Alfred Hitchcock's Rope is a shocking spellbinder starring James Stewart. Two friends (Farley Granger and John Dall) strangle a classmate for intellectual thrills and then proceed to throw a party for the victim's family and friends - with the body stuffed inside the trunk they use for a buffet table. As the killers turn the conversation to committing the "perfect murder", their former teacher (Stewart) becomes increasingly suspicious that his students have turned his intellectual theories into brutal reality. Filmed in only nine different takes almost entirely on a single sound stage, the first color film from the Master of Suspense is a chilling look into the dark side of humanity.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medPG PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 6.75 x 5.3 x 0.35 inches; 2.4 Ounces
- Item model number : 29093393
- Director : Alfred Hitchcock
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Release date : June 4, 2013
- Actors : James Stewart, John Dall
- Subtitles: : Spanish
- Language : French (DTS-HD 2.0), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono)
- Studio : Universal Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B00BM7A1AO
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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it's technical issue, in a nutshell, is as follows: it's based on a play, and Hitch wanted to replicate the experience of said play. he particularly wanted it to feel like it had been filmed in a single long take, which he never quite pulls off, although he gets closer than some might say was possible. so it doesn't flow quite as seamlessly as, say, Rear Window or North By Northwest. some have called it his most sluggish film, which is interesting considering that, at just over 80 minutes, it's one of his shorter ones.
so on that basis maybe it's not his most accomplished film. but on the other hand, the piece itself is one of the most compelling he ever used. Hitch was right at home with this sort of material, and he makes it positively chilling when it really counts.
the play in question, Rope's End by Patrick Hamilton, is not so subtly based on the case of Leopold & Loeb. Nathaniel Leopold and Richard Loeb were college students who in 1924 took the musings of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche just a little too far. they were fascinated with Nietzsche's concept of "Ubermench," meaning Superman in the elitist rather than Clark Kent sense of the word. finally convincing themselves they qualified and were as such entitled to certain things, they put the theory to the test with the murder of an "inferior."
(there's been conjecture that Nietzsche owes a significant spike in his fame to Leopold and Loeb, that he might otherwise be remembered today as one of those old-fashioned authors remembered only for students being forced to study them.)
in their place the film gives us Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger). having finally worked up the nerve but about to host a dinner party, they stuff their new cadaver in a chest for the moment. shortly, Brandon gets the idea that it would be amusing to actually serve dinner at said chest.
one "theme" that comes up in frequent discussions, but manged to slip passed me completely, is the suggestion that our killers are a homosexual couple. that would literally never of occurred to me, and not just because The Hayes Office would've vetoed any overt suggestion. it just doesn't gel with my perception of them. the way i interpret their relationship, Brandon is a charming but devious manipulator, and Phillip is the manipulated innocent who'd give anything to get out but is in too deep to turn back now. of course we all know couples have their tiffs - 90% of all sitcoms depend on 'em - but this is no tiff, it's a battle of wills. or, as Brandon puts it, "which is the cat and which is the mouse?"
though headliner, Jimmy Stewart has a peripheral role as a former college professor, in fact the one who introduced these two to the Ubermensch concept in the first place. he gives one of his most profoundly tragic performances, glibly detailing the Nietzschian ideals during the party, only to be horrified to later learn he's been taken literally. "who are you," he preaches accusingly, "to say who's inferior?"
one interesting anomaly to this film is the question of director's cameo. it's become something of a cliche in recent decades, but when Hitchcock originated the idea it was so out-of-the-blue that it it couldn't help becoming one of his trademarks. it became a red-letter part of the experience, much like Stan Lee's Marvel movie walk-ons these days. it even had a sort of backfire effect. to begin with he preferred to make his own appearances closer to the end of the film, but he got so famous for it that people starting scouring the film for him as opposed to, y'know, actually watching the movie. so he found himself having to work his cameo into the first 15 minutes or so, so as not to, as he put it, "keep the audience in suspense for the wrong reason."
so, where exactly does one cameo in a film set entirely in a single apartment? his first idea was to use his self-portrait silhouette, the one that later served as mascot for his tv show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as a flashing neon sign out the window. ultimately deciding that might be a bit obscure, he decided to walk by the front of the apartment building during the opening credits...which would've been fine if the camera hadn't been like a mile up in the air. so this film has two cameos, but it's highly debatable whether either actually registers.
so it may not be his best made film, but it has it's moments as well as it's ideas. enough more works than doesn't work to make it worth the effort.
if nothing else, it's noteworthy for being Alfred Hitchcock's very first film in color.
PS: I purchased this movie from FandangoNow (UltraViolet) at a GREAT discount price during a holiday weekend. Amazon took away our ability to watch Ultraviolet movies on the Kindle tablet so no sale.
Top reviews from other countries
Its interesting when you read back on the film and learn about it and how some citys didnt show the film because of the implied homosexuality in the film, to be fair i can see how it can be viewed but it was a different world then and it was illegal as i understand it.
This is a great film, really enjoyable , clever and quality.
Rope tells the story of two gay men (you certainly weren't allowed to say they were gay in the film in those days... or even outside of it) who's delusional belief in a theory of superior beings leads them to murder their friend David, who they believe inferior to their intellect. On the face of it a bit daft, but then we learn more about their devotion to their teacher (Jimmy Stewart) who taught them all about the idea of superior beings and the worthlessness of their 'inferior' counterparts.
The two men throw a party, with the body of the friend David dumped in a large chest, (unbeknownst to their party guests) to further 'celebrate' what they've done. Two of the guests are David's father and his girlfriend who become more and more concerned that David is late to the party. As too does the former teacher (Jimmy Stewart) who also has an invite. The plot moves forward with the two men finding it hard to conceal their growing guilt and suspicion growing.
I think the best part of this film it's a slow build. Hitchcock doesn't give us suspense overload he slowly introduces new pieces of the puzzle. In this way our sympathies for the characters change over the course of the film. The two leading actors (Granger and Dall) do a perfect job of showing the eventual change guilt has on them. Jimmy Stewart is almost the 'detective' attempting to slowly unravel everything he sees and hears. But more than that even his character changes with the events that unfold.
It's so beautifully acted and scripted (taken more or less from the excellent play by Patrick Hamilton) that you can't help but make this one of your favourite Hitchcock films (even if Hitch was less than sure about it himslef).