5 things I love about Rope (1948)

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I adore Rope. I know that feels like a rather insipid statement, but it’s Hitchcock, so there’s not a whole lot left to say. I blame film students. So instead I’ll just randomly tell you why I love Rope, in what I sometimes call ‘5 things I love about…’. Other times, it’s 7, but I think this list covers it.

– The long, continuous takes give Rope a ‘play’ feel, and it’s quite genius. It is a play originally (Patrick Hamilton, 1929) and it just screams it. As a playwright myself, I have been unknowingly influenced by it for years. In fact, this is the type of thing that makes you go ‘Damn, I wish I’d thought of that.’

– John Dall and Farley Granger are deliciously despicable as the arrogant murderers turned party hosts, serving food from their victim’s ‘grave’ as they entertain their guests.

– Mrs Wilson (Edith Evanson)’s solo take, when she’s clearing the table, coming in and out of the living-room, with the camera steadily focused on her is incredible because of how much tension it holds. It’s one of the most nerve-wrecking scenes in the film, in my opinion.

– Movie talk! ‘I’ll take Cary Grant myself!’ ‘Oh he was thrilling in that new thing with Bergman’ Wink, wink. The funniest moment.

– The final scene is spectacular. Rupert Cadell (Jimmy Stewart)’s speech is delivered in his usual, passionate, Mr Smith-like way and every word burns through your soul. If this doesn’t make you hate Brandon and Phillip more than you already should, then nothing will.

Rope might not be the best Hitchcock film, but it is certainly one of the most daring and one of my personal favorites. But then again, I’ve said that about nearly all of them. Still working on my top 10. It’s not easy, I tell ya.

10 thoughts on “5 things I love about Rope (1948)

  1. BadMoon

    Agree with the long continues takes (my most favorite part and because of this film, I fell in love with this kind of technique, although of course story telling is still the most important part. I also agree with your other points. Hope you don’t mind with me sharing mine as well, like I mentioned on Facebook, this is my favorite of Hitchcock so I’ve watched it multiple times :). I love that it took place in one location (one of the reasons why I love Rear Window, Dial M and for non Hitchcock: 12 Angry Men). All the actors were top of their games (even Jimmy Stewart, because some said this was one of his weakest performance and I disagreed), it was about PERFECT murder which was my “favorite” type of films (okay sounds disturbing haha, but that’s why I love Hitchcock). It’s unique because we already know who did it, but the suspense this was how it was going to be resolved by Stewart’s character. Very intriguing. Ok I’m gonna shut up now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I agree with all your points. As for Jimmy Stewart, I don’t think he was miscast or that it was a weak performance. I don’t really understand why people say that, but I think this is one of those roles that could have been played by anyone. Although, as I said, the final speech is very Jimmy Stewart.
      I also love films shot in one location and the three you mentioned are three of my favorites.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BadMoon

        As much as I love Jimmy, I sometimes imagine Henry Fonda (or Ray Milland and perhaps Cary too) probably could play the character, but especially Fonda. I was so impressed by his performance in Once Upon a Time in the West. That guy is a chameleon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah. Love Henry Fonda! And I’m sure Jimmy Stewart would agree with you, considering they were BBFs. Ray Milland, very interesting choice! Cary Grant, not so much, in my opinion, for this particular role (and he’s my favourite actor!)

        Liked by 1 person

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