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A Hempy Presentation
at Friday Night Movies:


Friday the 13th of August
Pot luck supper @ 7pm
Movie @ 8pm



Nobody commits a murder just for the experiment of committing it. Nobody except us.
--Brandon Shaw (John Dall)

USA: 1948 -- Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Patrick Hamilton (play "Rope's End"), Hume Cronyn (adaptation), Arthur Laurents & Ben Hecht (screenplay)
Starring James Stewart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Joan Chandler & Sir Cedric Hardwicke

Brandon Shaw: Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them.
--John Dall as Brandon Shaw

An experimental film masquerading as a standard Hollywood thriller. The plot of Rope is simple and based on a successful stage play: two young men (John Dall and Farley Granger) commit murder, more or less as an intellectual exercise. They hide the body in their large apartment, then throw a dinner party. Will the body be discovered? Director Alfred Hitchcock, fascinated by the possibilities of the long-take style, decided to shoot this story as though it were happening in one long, uninterrupted shot. Since the camera can only hold one 10-minute reel at a time, Hitchcock had to be creative when it came time to change reels, disguising the switches as the camera passed behind someone's back or moved behind a lamp. In later years Hitchcock wrote off the approach as misguided, and Rope may not be one of Hitchcock's top movies, but it's still a nail-biter. They don't call him the Master of Suspense for nothing. James Stewart, as a suspicious professor, marks his first starring role for Hitchcock, a collaboration that would lead to the masterpieces Rear Window and Vertigo. --Robert Horton for Amazon Editorial Reviews

Hope to see you there. I'll save you an aisle seat and a good length of hemp.


Nominated for an Edgar for Best Motion Picture

Ranks #217 on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies

More awards

Memorable Quotes

Brandon Shaw: The good Americans usually die young on the battlefield, don't they? Well, the Davids of this world merely occupy space, which is why he was the perfect victim for the perfect murder. Course he, uh, he was a Harvard undergraduate. That might make it justifiable homicide.

Rupert Cadell: Did you think you were God, Brandon?

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.

More quotes


The film was shot in ten takes, ranging from four-and-a-half to just over ten minutes (the maximum amount of film that a camera magazine or projector reel could hold) duration. At the end of the takes, the film alternates between having the camera zoom into a dark object, totally blacking out the lens/screen, and making a conventional cut. However, the second edit, ostensibly one of the conventional ones, was clearly staged and shot to block the camera, but the all-black frames were left out of the final print. Most of the props, and even some of the apartment set's walls, were on casters and the crew had to wheel them out of the way and back into position as the camera moved around the set.

Contrary to popular belief there are several intentionally visible cuts during the movie: at the beginning of the film from the exterior to the interior of the apartment; when Janet arrives at the party; when Phillip shouts "That's a lie!"; when Mrs. Wilson enters the room to announce the telephone call from David's mother; and when Brandon reaches into his pocket for his gun while Rupert narrates his theory on how the murder was committed.

Story was very loosely based on the real-life murder committed by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, which was also the (fictionalized) subject of Compulsion (1959) and Swoon (1992).

When Janet and Mrs. Atwater are discussing their favorite leading men in movies, they bring up Cary Grant, and how brilliant he was in "that new thing with (Ingrid) Bergman." Neither can recall the title, but it's just plain "something" (meaning only one word). This refers to Alfred Hitchcock's earlier movie, Notorious (1946). Grant had also been Hitchcock's first choice for the role of Rupert Cadell.

Eleven years after being mentioned in Rope (1948) as making an excellent villain, James Mason was finally cast by Alfred Hitchcock as such in North by Northwest (1959).

More trivia


Continuity: When Rupert is talking to Brandon and holding two plates of ice cream, the camera moves behind Brandon's back to make a cut. When the camera re-emerges, Rupert and Brandon are standing in the same positions, but the doorway background is in a different place. Also, the ice cream topping has changed from chocolate to caramel. Furthermore, the piece of cake changes position on the plate in Rupert's left hand - it moves to the opposite side.

Continuity: When Phillip and Brandon put David in the chest, the rope is clearly around David's neck and completely inside the box. But in a few minutes Phillip finds the rope hanging, very far, outside the box.

Revealing mistakes: As Brandon and Philip walk back to the kitchen after finding the rope, the frame over the doorway into the hall can be seen separating. Since each reel was filmed in one continuous take, sets had to be moved out of the way during the shot, allowing the camera to follow the actors between rooms. (A similar mistake is visible in the tracking shot out of Bob Rusk's house in Frenzy (1972).)

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