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Classic Review: Rope (1948)

I love Hitchcock movies. I love James Stewart. Hence, you would think Rope would be one of my favorite movies, right? Um. About that.

Rope is the closest Alfred Hitchcock has gotten to a gimmick. Nope, it’s not the color (his first), but it’s his attempt to make the 80 minute movie seem as if it were one continuous shot. The first shot we get to see 2 young students strangle another student just because they can. Why? Because they feel superior, for the rush, to see if they can? You can try to figure this out when you see it. Not only do they murder, but they also throw a party immediately after, inviting another classmate (friends with the deceased), their former teacher (who introduced the murder idea to them), and the dead man’s father, aunt, and girlfriend. The party goes on, with the food served from the makeshift casket, with barely any suspicion raised. But will it last?

I had very mixed feelings about Rope. On the one hand, Hitchcock is still the Master of Suspense, and many moments had me on the edge of my seat. The long shot of the maid taking the things off the chest, and getting ready to open it built up plenty of tension. However, I feel like it could have been a lot better. While watching the special features off of the DVD, one person said they wanted to leave out the actual murder, to build up confusion among the viewer on whether the 2 young men were guilty. I remembered the tension in the movie, and couldn’t imagine how much more tension there would have been if we weren’t sure if there was a body in the chest. Secondly, there is the James Stewart problem. I love Stewart, and anything he is in. But, his character just seems to be stumbling around, and not in a good way. In fact, nothing about him made me like him. So while it is a decent Hitchcock movie, I’d much rather see The Birds, Rear Window, or Vertigo again, instead of Rope.

My Rating: C+

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