Movie Review: Rope

Murder is never a good topic to discuss at a social gathering; it drains all the joy out of the room. Needless to say, this film is an interesting experiment on how long takes of shots are used and whether or not editing is necessary. While this film is successful in achieving those goals, editing is one element in film that is not expendable.

Rope is used as the murder weapon as two men strangle a classmate as an exercise of what is a “perfect murder.”

Now, the way this was filmed is an effort to make it look like the movie was done in one take. It isn’t. Back in the days of film, one film magazine equaled ten minutes of movie. In order to mask some of the cuts, the camera was obscured by a person’s back or other things. There are moments where there are conventional cuts shown through a different composition. Just figuring out how to execute this takes a lot of planning.

The film is supposed to take place in real-time. The sun travels across the sky and appears in different locations after every take. When it becomes darker, the skyline lights up; it’s remarkable. The fact that we never leave the apartment is something that would be used in Rear Window, save for the climax. It evokes claustrophobia and you wonder whether or not you’ll actually leave the room occupied by two murderers and the corpse hidden from view.

The Hitchcock cameo is disputed as to whether or not he appears once or twice. Some say he’s walking down the street just after the title sequence. Others point to a billboard way off in the distance nearly an hour into the movie. Either way, he’s there.

The dominant use of long takes to make it seem like one take has only been done a handful of times since Rope. It’s that this movie is the one that comes to mind where I watch it just for the technical work.

7/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

IMDB Top 250

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