Sunday, 29 January 2017

"Rope" review

The film of the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock called „Rope” was his first work filmed in colour. It is noticeable that the film is very reminiscent of a stage play/ theatrical piece watched in one breath, without any intermissions. The fact is that movie „Rope”  was filmed based on a similarly-named successful play by Patrick Hamilton. Christina Newland(2016) actually points out that “Hitchcock was fascinated by the Aristotelian Unities, and since his film was based on a play, he seized the opportunity to shoot Rope in real time. Aristotelian Unities are three rules of drama with these severe restrictions: one main plot, action is limited to one place, it doesn’t move in space and play should take not more than 24 hours.
So it may safely be said that director Hitchcock observed all the rules called Aristotelian Unities.
Part of both play’s and film’s is based on a real murder committed by two American students of Jewish origin. Just like a real murder, murder in a movie Rope” was inspired by a Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, which perverted and corrupted the minds of young people and put them on a path of murder. Brief Nietzsche's philosophy is based on nihilism as well as on some sort of the ideal man(superhuman). Two murderers, Brandon and Phillip(see fig.1), decided that they are superhuman, who didn’t care about any morals and values, who could liquidate people unworthy of life called under-man(subhumans). 
Figure 1. Phillip, Rupert and Brandon  (2011)

However one of the guests, prep school housemaster Rupert(see fig.1) suspected extreme nervousness of these two young people saying that Brandon stutters only when he is worried. In the middle of „Rope Rupert mentioned the main ideas of Nietzsche’s philosophy, saying that victims of superhumans are subhuman, whose life does not matter and to get rid of them there must exist such events as „Strangulation Day” or „Cut a throat week”. These fictional events briefly remind us of a rather famous American film caller „The Purge(see fig.2) where in one night of the year people have the right to do anything: get revenge, kill, murder. The main mission - to survive. Basically in this night, the strong kill the weak. Superhumans kill subhumans.
Figure 2. Poster for Americal film The Purge  (2015)

All action takes place in only one apartment generally showing us only sitting room, hallway and dining room. Interestingly, how cleverly and nattily assistants outside the camera's view were changing the placement of furniture. As David Crow(2016) points out „The furniture moved out on wheels, and pushed back as the camera went by.”Everything was planned so that the process of making a film was more successful and more convenient as possible, because, after all,„Rope” was made almost without interruption, only with several montage cuts.
Talking about montage cuts, „the film consists of eleven shots with an average shot lenght of seven-and-a-half minute”( Sam Ishii-Gonzalès,2004:132) The modern viewer can easily notice where these montage cuts are happening, it looks quite obvious - the camera approaches on any dark object so this dark object will cover the whole screen, for example the back of one of the characters. That's when a montage cut is happening. Next episode is happening with filming the same dark object(back).
Figure 3. An example of montage cuts in Rope”. In the first picture, camera zooms in a back of a character. In the middle picture dark object, in this situation, it is back, covers the whole screen, it is a moment when a montage cut happening. The last one shows us the next episode of film after a montage cut  (2015)

Rope differs from other Alfred Hitchcock’s movies because it doesn’t have his legendary technique of a rapid montage. However, quite the reverse, this film is unique by almost not using montage cuts at all. „Rope” is an interesting film with a thrilling story, interesting characters, unique filming technique and instructive morale.

1. Newland, C. (2016) Why Rope is Alfred Hitchcock's most audacious masterpiece. At: (Accessed on 25 January 2017) 
2. Crow, D. (2016) Before Birdman There Was Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. At: (Accessed on 25 January 2017) 
3. Ishii-Gonzales, S. (2004) Hitchcock:Past and Future. London and New York: Routledge. 
1. Figure 1. (2011)[Film Still], accessed on 27 January 2017.
2. Figure 2.Matt Goldberg(2015)[Film Poster], accessed on 27 January 2017.
3. Figure 3.(2017)[Film Still], accessed on 27 January 2017.

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