Originally Posted by sipang
Two surprises. Rope
is so famous for its one long continuous take that, coming into the film, I pretty much expected it to be only about that. An experiment that only uses the story as pretext for a showy demonstration of technical prowess. Turns out the long take is almost unnoticeable and you kinda forget about it a couples minutes into the film (which might actually be the real prowess), which is totally unexpected and the exact opposite of the way more recent films have used it. I'd be curious to know Hitchcock's motivation for it . It definitely gives the film a real-time vibe (with the help of the slowly changing skyline) and a fluidity that makes the tension-building more palpable and effective.
The second surprise is that it's actually not one long continuous take, even if you leave out the hidden cuts needed for technical reasons there still are a couple of obvious cuts. The cool thing is that Hitchcock uses those visible cuts so parsimoniously that they kinda jump at you when they occur, well at least one of them does: the reverse-shot on James Stewart after the chicken thing, you can see the wheels starting to turn in his head. I feel like it's that moment that really jumpstarts the film/story and that will implacably leads to its resolution.
I'm not as convinced by some of the writing. I feel like Brandon and Phillip's characterization is a bit too caricatural and the whole ubermensch thing is not exactly subtle and verges a little too much on humdrum didacticism (although it probably had another kind of impact three years after the end of WW2).
Hitchcock's motivation for doing the film in what was as close as possible to a single long take stems from the nature of the play Rope
. In the play, even though it's told in three acts, the action is continuous. The only interruptions are when the curtains come down at the end of each act, but there is no time difference between the end of each act and the beginning of the next. When Hitchcock began the project he wanted to see if it would be possible to make the film mimic the feeling of the play, he wanted to see if he could make the action feel as continuous and uninterrupted as it did in the play. I personally think he succeeded. One significant difference is length: the play and the movie both take place between 7:30 PM and 9:15 PM, but the film is much shorter than 105 minutes. I guess you could say that the movie takes place in a slightly accelerated compared to the "real world," but this is pretty much what movies already do anyway.
Another interesting thing is that, for the time, this was a huge technical undertaking (and it probably would be today). Everybody on set, from the lighting and sound and camera people right up to the actors had a series of cues and intricate choreographed movements they had to follow - there were even choreographed patterns for the clouds in the background! They also had to make sure that the floor didn't make any noise when people were walking on it or moving heavy equipment around on it. Because it all had to be shot on a single set, which consisted of multiple rooms, the walls separating each room had to be put on silent rollers so that they could be moved to accommodate the movements of the camera.
A lot of the same stylistic flourishes and techniques were reused in Hitchcock's next film, Under Capricorn
, which also had some sequences filmed as though they were one continuous take.
Originally Posted by sipang
Ok that makes sense. Still, the way it's conveyed feels a bit too expository imo, no big deal just somewhat distracting.
Also I gotta say the homosexual subtext
kinda went right over my head.
Do you mean the relationship between Brandon and Phillip, or Brandon and Rupert, or all of the above?