Friday, 22 January 2016

Script to Screen - The Rope Review


Rope (1948) is a film by the iconic Alfred Hitchcock, it is a story of murder, focused around two business men who kill a man named David whom they believe is below them for there own gain, the chrime is committed with a piece of rope, which is promptly hidden by the men. But as time goes on, the less assertive man Phillip, starts to become guilty and realize the magnitude of what hes done, and eventually comes to regret the crime that he has taken part of, thus leading to the story of the rest of the film. While the man who has taken charge of the scenario, Brandon, is more calm and at piece with his actions"...the dead calm (and near glee) shown by Brandon is more chilling than the murder itself. Phillip, on the other hand, is as uncomfortable as the audience." (J.C. Macek, S.D).

Brandon actually begins to achieve some kind of, thrill seeking pleasure of his acts, he finds the danger of his scenario appealing to a sense. This is mainly shown in the way he willingly uses the chest that has the body hidden in it, to make a dining table for the guests who have come, decorating it for the occasion as if it were on show, to the displeasure and stress of Phillip.


What the film is most famous for though, is actually the cinematography and editing. The film tries to make the allusion that is infact one giant take, almost like a live stage play. There are at no points in the film any hard cuts, the only time it actually cuts is when the camera is obscured by something like a wall or persons back that fills the frame in black, before everything else carries on like normal. "In an ordinary movie, closer shots indicate more intensity, longer shots are more objective. Camera movement helps establish mood. Closeups punch home dramatic moments." (Ebert, 1984). 

A thought that I had afterwards was that maybe the rope is a visual metaphor for the film is the use of the aforementioned editing style, in the same way the rope is one long flowing item, it is similar to the long, non cut editing of the picture, and how it isn't obviously cut at any points, like a rope. Another point is its rather dulled down a business-esque colour pallets, the entirety of the films colours are dumbed down colours, grey and beige tones, which match the dreary scenario and business men themes.


While not recognized in the main stream as one of Hitchcock's more Iconic pictures, this film holds itself in history for its relatively simple plot like, minimalist filming style, and strong undertones of growing sexual freedom that was emerging at the time, including some subtle homosexual undertones which are rather bold for there time. "The narrative is gripping enough without consideration of the sexual politics of the film, yet there are some obvious clues as to the together and holiday together; they finish each other's lines and thoughts; they know all about each other's favourite drinks, taste in music and constantly review each other's feelings...They have a maid that seems to treat them as a pair of divas...although Brandon has had a relation with a female friend before - it seems to have ended badly." (England, 2013).


List of Illustrations:


1 comment:

  1. HI Brad... a couple of formatting issues here - the some of the review seems to have been centred, rather than being aligned to the left. Also, in your bibliography, most of the text is dark grey, making it impossible to read.

    I like the idea of the rope symbolising the editing style :)