...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

March 14, 2007

Rope - 7

I can't say this often enough: Hitchcock is an amazing filmmaker. Technically speaking this is an amazing film because it uses one camera and the whole film is one continuous shot all in a three room set. In addition, Hitchcock picks stories that are equally amazing. In this one the consequences of ideas comes to the fore. Two recent college graduates, Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger), decide to commit the perfect murder, believing that they are above the morality of the masses due to there superior intellect. To put there plan to the test they hide the body in a cabinet and invite the victim's family and friends, and most importantly their esteemed professor Cadell (James Stewart) to dinner. Cadell taught the students moral philosophy based on the ideas of Nietzche, the "superman," and the will to power. And now they have lived the ideas. The tension is created in the film and heightens as the film ends with Cadell coming to terms with his ideas and the practice of them that he has mistakenly created. Cadell's final lines are a great moment in which he finally recognizes the significance and connection between knowing and doing. That theories are put to the test through practice, sometimes to horrific effect. This film was made in 1948 and it has undertones of refering to Hitler and WWII, but the themes can be applied universally, and especially in the context of academia.


Anonymous said...

Not that it hinders the technical achievement, but film stock in the 50s and 60s could only take an 8-minute continuous shot. Thus, Rope is comprised of 8 minute shots all through until the end, with "seamless" edits whenever Hitchcock needs to start another role of film stock by hiding by a door or dark corner/fabric.

I gave the film a 7/10 simply because I never care all that much for either Stewart or the boys. That said, there's a nice amount of coded homosexual references throughout: such as the fact that there's only one bed in the apartment for the two men, as well as the homosocial (though there are undercurrents of sexuality) that bind the two boys together.


~greg said...

Thanks for the technical details, Paul. The point I was making was that the for the viewer it has the effect of one continuous shot, which is the genius of Hitchcock to find a way to pull it off.