Rope (Warner 1948, Farley Granger, John Dall)


Rope is one of the most famous technical achievements in movie history, a Hitchcock mystery that seems to unfold in a single, continuous shot (though there are two brief reverse-angle shots).

The story of a thrill killing (based on the 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder) takes place as two pseudo-intellectuals (Farley Granger and John Dall) murder a friend and then host a dinner party.

The guests include the victim’s father (Cedric Hardwicke), his fiancee (Joan Chandler), and James Stewart, a professor whose lectures on Nietzsche inspired their deed. Dall toys with the guests, daring them to uncover the secret of the body that he’s hidden in the chest from which they serve dinner. To his chagrin, Stewart begins to understand Dall’s taunts.

The technical challenge appealed to Hitchcock’s formidable production-planning skills. The set consisted of wild walls that could move out of the camera’s path, and the set dressing had to move silently as well. As night falls, the light had to change both on the set and on the carefully rendered Manhattan skyline that serves as a backdrop. Hitchcock organized a massive army of technicians and crew, and the resulting film (which Hitchcock referred to as a “stunt”) consists of eight apparently seamless 10-minute takes.

Rope is also notable as Hitchcock’s first color film.


Cast: Farley Granger, John Dall, Cedric Hardwicke, James Stewart, Joan Chandler,

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Producers: Sidney Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock
Directors of Photography: William V. Skall, Joseph A. Valentine
Editor: William Ziegler
Composer: David Buttolph
Screenwriters: Hume Cronyn, Ben Hecht, Arthur Laurents
Costume Designer: Adrian
Art Director: Perry Ferguson

USA / Warner Bros. / 81 minutes / 1948

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