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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rope (1948)

"Suspence"

"Rope" is one of Hitchcock's most unfortunately overlooked films. It doesn't have the depth of some of his other works (such as "Vertigo" or "Psycho"), but its just as engrossing and entertaining. Hitchcock could take such a seemingly simple premise and effectively stretch it out to a feature length and have none of it seem like filler. "Rope" is one of the most innovative film experiments of the decade, and it never feels gimmicky. Hitchcock, the master of suspense, is at the top of his game here. The film may be mostly nothing but dialog, but its always fascinating.

The acting is very good, as usual when working with Hitchcock's skilled direction. John Dall is absolutely spellbinding as one of cinema's scariest villains, an intellectual whose disregard for human emotions and morals verges more on fascism than the sub-Nietschze philosophy he proclaims. James Stewart is also superb as the voice of reason throughout the tension. The rest of the cast is good if occasionally awkward in delivery, but both Dall and Stewart turn in phenomenal performances.

Another interesting aspect of the film is the homoerotic subtext. I'm surprised it made it past the censors of the day, but to modern viewers its obvious there's something more to Dall and Farley Granger's relationship than just roommates. "Rope" is an absolutely fascinating film from the master of suspense, and even if its not his masterpiece, this is probably my personal favorite of Hitchcock's next to "Vertigo".

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