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Rope

  

Brandon: "Nobody commits a murder just for the experiment of committing it. Nobody except us."

Rope was produced and released in 1948. It is an experimental film with long takes (cuts camouflaged). Adapted by Hume Cronyn from the play by Patrick Hamilton. Screenplay by Arthur Laurents.

Brandon: "Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them."

Cast

James Stewart... Rupert Cadell
Joan Chandler... Janet Walker
John Dall... Brandon Shaw
Farley Granger... Phillip Morgan
Cedric Hardwicke... Mr. Henry Kentley (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Constance Collier... Mrs. Anita Atwater
Douglas Dick... Kenneth Lawrence
Edith Evanson... Mrs. Wilson
Dick Hogan... David Kentley

Did you know that Constance Collier who plays the delightful Mrs. Anita "something-of-the-something" Atwater wrote a play with Ivor Novello which Hitchcock based his film Downhill on?

Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut on the problems of using a mobile camera when shooting Rope

"The technique of the camera movements was worked out, in its slightest details, well beforehand. We used a dolly and we mapped out our course through tiny numbers all over the floor, which served as guide marks. All the dollyman had to do was to get his camera on position Number One or Number Two at a given cue of the dialogue, then dolly over to the next number. When we went from one room into another, the wall of the hallway or of the living room would swing back on silent rails. And the furniture was mounted on rollers so that we could push it aside as the camera passed. It was an amazing thing to see a shot taken."
Francois Truffaut: Hitchcock

Murder scene

Brandon: "I've always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too. The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create."

The Killing of David Kentley (Dick Hogan) in Rope

David Kentley (Dick Hogan) in Rope David Kentley (Dick Hogan) in Rope Farley Granger, Dick Hogan and John Dall in Rope
Farley Granger, Dick Hogan and John Dall in Rope Farley Granger, Dick Hogan and John Dall in Rope Farley Granger, Dick Hogan and John Dall in Rope
Farley Granger and John Dall in Rope Farley Granger and John Dall in Rope Farley Granger and John Dall in Rope

Rope (1948)

More Murder Scenes

Rope (1948) titles

 

 

Important themes and motifs

Hitchcock to Truffaut on the long takes in Rope and Under Capricorn

No doubt about it; films must be cut. As an experiment, Rope may be forgiven, but it was definitely a mistake when I insisted on applying the same techniques to Under Capricorn.
Truffaut: Hitchcock

 

Homosexuality, homophobia and deviant sexuality in Hitchcock's Films

Homosexuality was never explicitly mentioned in any of Hitchcock's films, but we see the theme indirectly treated in several of his films, actually more as homophobia. Deviant sexuality, combined with misogyny often characterizes Hitchcock's villains.

According to The Motion Picture Production Code depiction or direct reference to homosexuality was forbidden. The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home should be upheld. Pictures should not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.

As far as homosexuality is presented in Hitchcock's films, it is presented negatively. Until 1974 homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder.

The Pleasure Garden

The costume designer working for the theatre manager is extravagantly effeminate.

The Lodger

The Detective to his girlfriend and her mother: «Anyway, I’m glad he’s not keen on the girls!» (a comment also alluding to Ivor Novello's homosexuality)
The Detective to Daisy's mother: «Does this lodger of yours mean any harm to Daisy?»
The mother: «Don’t be silly, Joe, he’s not that sort. Even if he is a bit queer, he’s a gentleman.»

Murder!

The murderer Handell Fane is a transvestite (an emblem of homosexuality) and this is linked with racial impurity (Handell Fane is a a "halfcast"), an outdated viewpoint which is rather disturbing today.

Secret Agent

Madeleine Carrol to the American man in the horse wagon: "He's fond of you! – I was afraid of that!"

The Lady Vanishes

The cricket obsessed English couple sleeping in the same bed.

Rope

Philip and Brandon.
"When you translated the English dialogue, it became very homosexual – unintentionally."
(Screenplay writer Arthur Laurents)
"What was curious to me was that Rope was obviously about homosexuals. The word was never mentioned. Not by Hitch, not by anyone at Warners. It was referred to as "it". They were going to do a picture about "it" and the actors were "it"."
(Screenplay writer Arthur Laurents)
"The thing to me that is best about the picture is not the technical side. That may be called ahead of its time, but it was never used again. [...] What is extraordinary about it is its treatment of homosexuality. I mean, today it still is one of the most sophisticated movies made on that subject. [...] Hitchcock certainly knew that and it certainly attracted him. And what he liked was not that they were homosexuals, but that they were homosexual murderers."
(Screenplay writer Arthur Laurents)

Strangers on a Train

Bruno and Guy

North by Northwest

The friendship between the villain VanDamm and his jealous friend Leonard has associations towards homosexuality.

Psycho

Norman's feminine walk and mother fixation.

Excerpt of The Motion Picture Production Code

No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standards of those who see it.

The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.

 

Mrs. Atwater: Do you know when I was a girl I used to read quite a bit.
Brandon: We all do strange things in our childhood.

 

 

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