Rope (1948)

“Rope” (1948)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writers: Patrick Hamilton, Hume Cronyn, Arthur Laurents, Ben Hecht

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller

IMDB

The birth of an “eye”

I place this one in my list of films anyone should watch. That is, in order to understand some fundamental issues on film-making and films in the last 50 years.

What i’m least interested in here are the technical achievements. Those represent today a curiosity, a museum fact, worth being remembered and credited to those who worked for them, but just it.

I’m also not so interested in the underlying taboo subjects, namely those regarding the homosexuality issue. In respect to that, i even think the whole film construction, from casting to scene writing threw away many things. I’ll get morecontroversial. I think Hitchcock in fact despised those messages (the writers were worried in exploring them, not Hitch), he was not after meanings or controversies, he was after something far more ingenious and influential. I’m talking about his camera eye.

Before this one, all Hitch’s work was something between a classical construction and some exploration of the camera as carrier of a character’s (and the audience’s) emotion/feeling/sensation. The library scene in ‘Shadow of a doubt’, for example, is the perfect example of what i’m talking about. Anyway, that will Hitch had of making the camera follow around characters, sets, and reveal what a character (or “god”) had to reveal was already notable. In here, he made that the theme of the picture. One single set, very few characters, a clear as water story (which he made even clearer by not throwing any doubt about the destiny of the murdered boy). The sexual issues also go to second importance issues. The apartment is at once simple enough to solve the technical difficulties of filming it, and large and divided enough to allow the camera to explore it, searching for elements, for dialogues or for actions. The camera has curiosity, it is almost a character, a character called audience. Years later, in different molds, Hitch would place Stewart behind the camera and definitely assume it as a physical character in the plot (Rear Window). In here what we get is fully a camera that moves to the whishes of the director. The curious, ever searching camera that dePalma would reinvent and Polanski master shows up here.

I believe the work of dePalma, in a way Polanski, Chabrol and even some Godard (Le mépris is filled with this) all derive from what happened here. Hitchcock would probably hit the top with Rear Window, but here is where he becomes an inventor.

My evaluation: 5/5 . one of the cinematic manifestos

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