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Wrap it up.

For my third dip into the 1940's today I watched Rope (1948).


“What would you say to some champagne?”

“Hello, champagne.”

I don't think this is in the top five for Hitchcock movies but it is a movie that's still referenced in pop culture nearly 70 years later. It is best known for the homosexual themes and the framing of the story in "one" take. On this viewing I was impressed by the ramping up of suspense in the movie. We know they killed him, we know where the body is, we just get teased and teased about when they're going to get caught and how it will all fall together.

The acting is very compelling in Rope. I think it has gotten some guff for how animated the two killers act during the party, but they seem to be as hysterical as one could expect to be if they had just minutes ago been involved in the death of another person while tenuously trying to hold it in and act natural enough to get away with it. They also stand very close together, both for the purpose of staying in frame without cuts, but also to raise the claustrophobia in the apartment, perhaps even paralleling the body tightly stuffed into the chest in the living room. The killers are cornered by the party guests and they're cornered by the staging within the frame.

It's a compelling achievement of bringing theater to screen and confining it to a single apartment. Oddly, the one movie I've seen this year that is similar in a technical sense to Rope is Hardcore Henry for trying to make the film appear to be one shot. Yet, after all these years they still can't fully hide the cuts even with computer graphics.

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