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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 12 July 2008
Rope is a superb piece of cinema and a classic Hitchhock Thriller in the same vain as Rear Window. It's one of my favourite Hitchcock films, and one that I feel is sadly missed and often underrated. Based on a stage play of the same name, Rope is inspired by the infamous Loeb & Leopold murder case in 1920s Chicago.

In Rope two rich-kid roommates living in a large apartment in New York murder one of their friends (don't worry this is not a spoiler; it is the opening scene of the film). They then invite the boys parents, girlfriend and one of their teachers for dinner party with the dead body hidden in the room. What follows is a taut thriller and a deadly game of cat and mouse as the kids try to get away with the "perfect crime".

Rope is a triumph; the whole film is set in one space and Hitchcock uses clever camera techniques to give the impression that it is almost one long camera shot from start to finish. The superb acting by James Stewart (Rear Window), Farley Granger (Strangers on a Train) and John Dall bring the story to life and make this an unmissable thriller. Despite rave reviews (it scores 8/10 on IMDB), this is an often overlooked Hitchcock gem.

The DVD version is fairly light on extras and features. The version I have includes the film, with English and foreign language subtitles, plus a short "Making of" programme, a small art gallery and a compilation of original trailers.

Rope is an essential watch and should be in any film buff's collection; regardless of whether you're a big fan of Hitchcock. For £6 you can't go wrong with this DVD.
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2013
Rope is certainly not viewed by some critics as one of the high points of Hitchcock's glittering career. It usually languishes along with the likes of Lifeboat, Spellbound and other 'not quite there' Hitchcock films. However to look over this gem would be to miss out on one of Hitchcock's finest suspenseful thrillers.

Rope tells the story of two gay men (you certainly weren't allowed to say they were gay in the film in those days... or even outside of it) who's delusional belief in a theory of superior beings leads them to murder their friend David, who they believe inferior to their intellect. On the face of it a bit daft, but then we learn more about their devotion to their teacher (Jimmy Stewart) who taught them all about the idea of superior beings and the worthlessness of their 'inferior' counterparts.

The two men throw a party, with the body of the friend David dumped in a large chest, (unbeknownst to their party guests) to further 'celebrate' what they've done. Two of the guests are David's father and his girlfriend who become more and more concerned that David is late to the party. As too does the former teacher (Jimmy Stewart) who also has an invite. The plot moves forward with the two men finding it hard to conceal their growing guilt and suspicion growing.

I think the best part of this film it's a slow build. Hitchcock doesn't give us suspense overload he slowly introduces new pieces of the puzzle. In this way our sympathies for the characters change over the course of the film. The two leading actors (Granger and Dall) do a perfect job of showing the eventual change guilt has on them. Jimmy Stewart is almost the 'detective' attempting to slowly unravel everything he sees and hears. But more than that even his character changes with the events that unfold.

It's so beautifully acted and scripted (taken more or less from the excellent play by Patrick Hamilton) that you can't help but make this one of your favourite Hitchcock films (even if Hitch was less than sure about it himslef).
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on 22 February 2017
Excellent condition
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on 7 April 2017
Excellent
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on 14 September 2016
i think boys eat cats
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on 1 August 2017
As described
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on 8 December 2008
I have a feeling that this Hitchcock is an underated movie. Harly anyone seems to know of it when I mention it but I haven't stopped talking about its brilliance all week! It is an amazing film, filmed in one room, based on a play (which is very obvious because the actors perform in a specific way that would only be linked to a play i.e. standing so that they are all facing the front with no backs facing the audience) which is of course based on the Leopold-Loeb case of 1920's America. James Stewart is as usual comical and quick- thinking, with John Dall and Farley Granger as the two murderous men, who decide to commit the perfect crime by murdering their friend and putting him inside a chest in their front room, then inviting all his friends and family round for tea. Things are going fine but then James Stewart begins to get suspicious... One word - Classic!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 August 2017
This is Hitchcock directing James Stewart and as a result it was always going to be a superb film, I was very surprised that I had not heard of it, given how many of Hitchcock's films are critically acclaimed and routinely recommended. This film I only heard about when carrying out a google search or browsing wikis, I cant remember which, I found it recommended as an existentialist film.

The film's opening scene is a bit of a shocker, the first cut which I watched features a scream and someone has obviously been killed off screen, a small rope is produced and it is evident a strangulation has taken place, however, I discovered this was a censored cut, as the second version actually features the strangulation, or at least it opens with the two perpetrators standing either side of the victim who stands about to collapse with the noose around his neck. Now, it is done more theatrically, perhaps, than a lot of the present day shockers both takes surprised me, I thought, wait, you're going to begin with this?! What can possibly follow this?

Far from being anti-climatic the rest of the feature is pretty smart and has a perfect pace, the killers are friends of the victim (this reminded me of the talented Mr Ripley) and their motivations are examined throughout the length of the feature, they rationalise their actions, one to the other discussing the crime, then with guests who visit the crime scene for a pre-planned dinner party, then once again with one another, just out of ear shot of a maid and finally when confronted by one of the guests who have returned on an invented pretext who has succeeded in rumbling their game, that clever sleuth.

On one level it is a simple whodunnit, two perps with very different personalities, one the classical, heartless, cold as ice killer, trying to commit the prefect crime practice murder as an art form, the other with motive but full of regret, drowning is sorrows with alcohol, actually eager to confess. During the dinner party the murder weapon moves in and out of view, so confident is one of our killers that he actually hands it over to a guest, motives are also openly talked about. When finally the confrontation between sleuth and perps takes place the more remorseful one telegraphs what has been taking place by crying out "Cat and Mouse, Cat and Mouse, who is the Cat and who is the Mouse?".

What makes it more of an existentialist movie, I think, and it is a far, far cry from any of the other movies which I have heard described as existentialist such as The Seventh Seal our other movies by that director, is the content of some of the dinner party conversation and the motivation of one of the killers.

It is a lot of uber men/superman versus inferior/dumb masses kind of thinking, there is someone who appears unashamedly to endorse their message, which one of the perps is almost ready to confide in, excited to have found a like minded person but it all is quickly halted by another guest who finds the whole table talk grotesque. It is Stewart's character who appeared to be warming to the idea of the murder as art and uber men idea, when he returns to the crime scene to confront the killers he actually narrates his own self-disgust that his thinking could result in others taking actions as they did.

This I thought was really interesting but beyond making the point it doesnt go anywhere particularly, I did think about Hitchcock as director and how this could be a response to pundits suggesting that his films could inspire or motivate killers who watched them to commit actions in the real world. The point is not exactly laboured but Stewart's character, who has a fire arm at this point, states that he now will be responsible for their deaths but rather than shooting them he uses the gun to let loose shots and draw the attention of the authorities. In a way this could be comment on responsibility and capital punishment for murder.

The entire film is shot in a single room, the set is not fantastic, in fact it is obvious that it is a set and it could as easily have been a stage production, however, those are not entirely criticisms and the writing itself, direction and acting I thought was fantastic. Naturally focus is going to be on James Stewart, rightly so as none of the rest of the cast can hold a candle to his performance and stage prescience but I also thought that the two killers were acted very well, no hammy over acting at all, which can be a factor in older single set, "stage", shots. I would not for a second suggest that this ranks alongside movies like 12 Angry Men, which is also a single stage performance, nor even many of Hitchcocks superior works, though I would still recommend it.
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on 13 June 2013
If there is anything notable that makes "Rope" stand out from any other Hitchcock film, it's the fact that most of the movie is in one single shot, I say mostly because there are two direct cuts very early on in the movie, the first being directly after the opening credits to jump into the set, and there's just one at the 15-20 minute mark. But after that, no more direct cuts in the whole film, just a long shot which due to camera film storage capacity zooms in on people's shirts and zooms out again every once in a while. "Rope" was originally a stage play which means that the single shot approach makes sense, but the cinematography and photography of the film is still exceptional and creative to capture the best of the performances and heighten the tension.

The premise of "Rope" is deceivingly simple, two young men commit murder and hold a gathering to effectively pull off the ultimate crime. Dick Hogan and John Dall play the murderers with Hogan being the confident, oppressive figure relishing in the art of killing and John becoming more and more unsettled as the film goes on, always conscience a body is always on the brink of being discovered. But of course the star of the film is James Stewart's Rupert Cadell who gives a wonderful performance. The rest of the cast is well acted and consistent, barely a weak performance in sight. But "Rope" needs captivating story and a script to convey it more than anything in its limited set - and it delivers. Can anyone justify murder? Does anyone have the right to take another's life for any reason? These questions are the core of the story with Hogan's confidence in the right to kill being slowly etched away by Rupert Cadell who was partial to the concept, but would never do such a thing in reality. The script, particularly in the final act is incredible.

So overall this is another great Hitchcock but highly underrated. The single shot makes you sink into the film but the tension is so high as it progresses that you can't ever be bored. A few details, the back of the room with the changing light as the day progresses is a nice touch but the solid performances and great scripting and direction are the highlights in this (almost) one shot film about murder and where to draw the line. Just one note - the blu-ray makes the film crystal clear and there's no visual or audio problems, everything is crystalline here.
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The scariest kind of murder is not the murder of passion, or even cold-blooded greed -- it's the murder that is committed for its own sake.

And such a murder is the center of "Rope," one of Alfred Hitchcock's more experimental movies. Based on the real-life murder committed by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, nearly the entire movie takes place in real time in a single room. Most impressively, there are only a few cuts, allowing the camera to wander through the story as if an invisible man was observing everything.

The story begins with murder -- a young man named David is strangled by his former classmates, law students Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger). Then they stuff his corpse in a big wooden chest. Brandon wants to commit the "perfect" murder that proves their intellectual superiority, and as superior beings they are exempt from the morals that govern society -- an idea he got from his former teacher, Rupert (James Stewart).

They plan to dump the body in a lake later that evening, but first Brandon wants to put the final perverse "artistic" flourish -- he's going to host a dinner party, with the corpse-containing chest used as a buffet. Even worse, the guests include David's father and aunt, Rupert, David's fiancee, Janet Walker (Joan Chandler) and her ex-boyfriend Kenneth (Douglas Dick).

But as the evening goes on, the guests begin to worry when David doesn't show up, and Rupert begins to suspect that something weird is going on. An increasingly hysterical Phillip begins to unravel out of fear that their "artistic" murder will be found out, and a confrontation between the three men becomes inevitable.

Reportedly Alfred Hitchcock was not entirely satisfied with "Rope," considering it an experiment that didn't quite succeed. Frankly, I find it a fascinating piece of work, both artistically and thematically -- how often do you see a movie where the camera simply pans quietly through the room, focusing on different people and conversations as it goes? And yes, it's in real time.

In fact, at some points it stops feeling like a MOVIE, and more like you're an invisible person standing in the room observing everything silently. Or perhaps, since it takes place mostly in one room, it's more like watching a play where you can wander onstage among the actors.

It's also rather experimental in its chilling theme. Most people have expressed some sort of radical, cruel views in the past, but here Hitchcock asks what would happen if someone actually took those views to heart? And the scariest part is this is based in reality -- Leopold and Loeb truly believed themselves to be Übermenschen.

So Hitchcock amps up the suspense and horror as the unwitting people circle around the corpse, eating food from atop his unofficial coffin and worrying about his absence. One of the most intense scenes is Rupert casually discussing how he supports murder of "inferior" people... and the whole time, you're acutely aware that his students have actually put this into practice. It leads to a beautifully harrowing scene when Rupert realizes the monsters he has helped create through his own careless insensitivity.

It also has main characters that you can't really feel any sympathy for. Brandon is one of the most repulsive characters you could ever find -- a cheery, casual psychopath who toys with David's loved ones for his own sadistic amusement. Phillip, on the other hand, is a neurotic wimp who is too weak to say "no" to his boyfriend, even about murder. Grange and Dahl are absolutely amazing in their roles, and they really elicit your loathing for the characters they play.

However, there is one flaw: James Stewart. Stewart was one of the greatest actors in Hollywood, but here he's woefully miscast -- he seems uncomfortable with playing a casually cruel academic who doesn't seem to "get" the implications of his theories, so often Rupert sounds like he's joking when he isn't. Stewart is brilliant when he turns on the intensity, but he doesn't do it often enough.

It's a sharp deviation from Hitchcock's "typical" style, but "Rope is a horrifyingly effective experience anyway -- chilling, odd and strangely "real." The only problem is Stewart's casting.
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