Monday, 25 January 2016

Cutting Edge | Film Review | Rope

Fig 1. The movie poster used for 'Rope'

'Rope' (1948) is an Alfred Hitchcock film that was based upon a play that also goes by the name of 'Rope'. Throughout this films a variety of different shots have been used to make the audience immersed into the story, most of the shots used within 'Rope' were experimental and were exploited to add effect to the film. For example Hitchcock wanted 'Rope' to seem like one whole continuous shot "All of the events had to take place in one uninterrupted act, and he arrived at the novel idea of shooting the movie without any visible cuts." (Ebert, 1984) Other pieces of clever camera work are used throughout 'Rope' an example would be the fact that Hitchcock ensures that he points the camera and all of the useful information throughout the film. 

Fig 2. Brandon and Phillip murdering the man with rope.

'Rope' begins with an ear piercing scream of a man being murdered in cold blood by Brandon and Phillip. As we get in closer to the scene of the murder it's clear that the murder weapon that is used is where the film got its name from. (See Fig 2.) After killing the man, his corpse is thrown inside of a storage space and covered with a table cloth and candles to mask the make shift burial  (See fig 3.) and "Instead of hiding themselves, or the evidence of their crime, they throw a party, inviting the dead man's loved ones to sip champagne and make small talk." (Hutchinson, 2012). It's almost as if Brandon and Phillip are hosting a funeral for his unsuspecting family and to make the whole situation colder he is not showing any remorse but instead talking with the family and friends as though nothing has happened.

Fig 3. Brandon and Phillip standing above the hidden corpse

It may feel like a painstakingly long time that we are waiting for justice to be served to the killers in 'Rope', but this is the way that Hitchcock builds the immersion that we as a crowd get drawn in by, with each moment that goes by, Brandon feels he is growing ever closer to escaping and not being revealed. But it is his friend Phillip that begins to crack under the pressure and eventually confesses to the last remaining guest, this comes as a sort of release for the audience as throughout the film there are small hiccups that suggest they are going to get caught, which keep us on the edge of our seat. When they are finally caught a gunshot is fired to alert the police the character sit and await justice. The film ends there.

During the 1940's it was a very controversial thing to be homosexual. It's in this movie that we can see a large amount of homosexual subtext that has been written in for Brandon and Phillip. "The film is crammed with submerged gay imitations" (Croce 2006) The cigarette that is lit and smoked after the murder has been carried out is a huge piece of homosexual sub context, its almost as if the moment that Brandon and Phillip shared together when they murdered the man was so sensuous and intimate that one of the men felt a cigarette was needed, much like people tend to do after finishing intercourse. (See Fig 4.)

Fig 4. The moment when Brandon lights a cigarette after the murder
In conclusion it can be said that 'Rope' is an unsung hero in terms of Hitchcock movies. What Hitchcock was trying to achieve with his continuous shot was ahead of it's time and sadly couldn't be achieved in those times due to a technological disadvantage. Some can agree that if 'Rope' was to made with today's technologies it would make for a more immersive and great suspenseful movie. 


Ebert, R. (1984) 'Rope' At: Accessed 23/1/2016

Hutchinson, P. (2012) 'My Favorite Hitchcock: Rope'  At: 
Accessed: 23/1/2016

Croce, F. F (2006) 'Rope' At: Accessed: 23/1/2016

Image Sources

Fig 1. Film Poster for 'Rope'; (1948) [poster] At: Accessed 23/1/2016

Fig 2. Brandon and Phillip strangle man: (1948) [Film screenshot] At: Accessed: 23/1/2016

Fig 3 Brandon and Phillip are standing above the hidden corpse (1948) [Film Screenshot] At:. Accessed 23/1/2016

Fig 4. Brandon smoking a cigarette after the murder (1948) [Film Screenshot] At: Accessed 23/1/2016


  1. Hi Sam,

    Be careful when transcribing the your first one, you say '...he arrived at the novel idea of shooting the movie without any invisible cuts.' It should read 'visible cuts'. What you have written completely changes the meaning :)

  2. ...You also only need the author's surname and the date after the quote, not the full name.