Starring: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Running Time: 80 mins
Rope is an American film about two men who murder their supposedly ‘inferior’ classmate, and proceed to have a party directly afterwards. However, one guest begins to suspect the two men, and subtly investigates their apartment while they try to keep themselves clean.
This film was quite strange. Both in terms of its narrative, as well as the story itself. The whole thing starts extremely quickly, but what follows is quite a dull interim period lasting around 45 minutes, and it’s not until the climax that you get your classic Hitchcockian thriller element.
At the beginning of this film, you’re thrown right into the midst of the story, where everything is revealed within the first 30 seconds about the murder. This seems unbelievably strange at first, but because it is such an unorthodox opening, it immediately intrigues you and pulls you right into the film.
Then, you get the quite disappointing middle period. Assembling what seems like an Agatha Christie story, with various guests (including a butler of some sort) arriving at a party slowly, however unlike Christie, you already know the culprit, so at times it feels as if there’s no way the story can develop further.
Another downside to this 45 minute sequence is how seemingly aimless it is. Although you get glimpses of excitement, there’s barely any tension created throughout in terms of the man’s investigation, and it occasionally feels so random, it’s just like a more sadistic version of The Party.
The one good thing about the interim part is the appearance of James Stewart on screen. After what seems like a rather mediocre showing up to then, Stewart steals the show by really making you as inquisitive as his character is on screen, making the film a lot more interesting.
However, it’s not up until the end that you get any proper tension. But when it comes, it’s really quite impressive, with enough close-range suspense between the baddies and our hero to make you fall of the edge of your seat with excitement, and it’s so suspenseful, it’s often as exciting to watch as Psycho.
Overall, I’ll give this a 7.5, because although it started promisingly, and ended fantastically, it was the very long-winded and dull middle section that really disappointed me in the end.