Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Two gay aesthetes (John Dall and Farley Granger) kill an old classmate (Dick Hogan) with a length of rope and hide his body in a wooden chest in their apartment, on the same night that they are set to host a dinner party, with the deceased's father (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), aunt (Constance Collier) and fiancee (Joan Chandler) among the guests.
First things first, this is a very clever film technically. The story is told in real time and the editing is intricately put together so that the film appears to be one continuous shot, which is so cleverly done and well edited that there are no slips ups. The actors also give good performances, especially James Stewart as the killers' and victim's former Housemaster, who has strong suspicions based on the killers' behaviour and unravels/reveals the truth at the end.
Unlike other films by the genius that was Alfred Hitchcock, however, the film lacks a tenseness, except for the killing in the opening and the discovery at the end. Being told in real time made the story a technical marvel, particularly over sixty years ago, but it does cause the narrative to move very slowly and the feeling of it being so dragged out will cause viewers' attention to easily wander.
Also, to those of you who have seen the film and wonder why I refer to the leading characters as gay, it may never be explicitely mentioned, but there are a lot of hints pointing to it, although Hitchcock had to make them as subtle as possible due to censorship laws. Two camp men sharing a one bedroom apartment - I seriously doubt they slept in a bunk bed. This comes as quite an interesting surprise, as well as the fact that there is no homophobia, as homosexuality was despised worldwide, and was a huge taboo worldwide then, and is still a taboo in some countries today. Just to justify this paragraph, I decided to write about the themes and hints of homosexuality as there has been so much debate about it over the years, so I just thought I'd make it clear for anyone who is wondering whether the two lead characters are gay or straight.
All in all, Rope has a dragged out narrative and is nowhere near as tense and gripping as The 39 Steps (1935), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963) and most other Hitchcock films. However, it does have some tense moments, good performances, and is a very well-edited film, which is worth watching just for the technical side, especially if you have a genuine interest in film, even if it only means you chose to study AS Level Film Studies.
Stars: John Dall, Farley Granger, James Stewart, Douglas Dick, Joan Chandler, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, Edith Evanson, Dick Hogan.
Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination: Best Motion Picture (Arthur Laurents, Patrick Hamilton).