Rope Film Review (1948)

Figure 1: Poster (1948)

Afraid Hitchcock's Rope is a psychological thriller film set in an apartment, the film starts in disequilibrium with the murder of David Kenley ( Dick hogan). The perpetrators of the murder are the main characters Phillip (Farley Granger) and Brandon (John Dall). The non-linear narrative fits the story well, it creates a sense of tension throughout the film, putting the spectators in state of constant suspense.
Figure 2: Murder scene (1948)

Rope was is praised and ridiculed for its use of one seemingly continual camera shot. The camera works very well if you see it as the spectators voyeuristic eye. It unable to cut away stuck in the same room as the characters as an invisible force documenting the events. Roger Ebert sees the cameras inability to cut around the room as a hindrance stating "there are moments when it seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time”( Ebert, 1984) which is a valid point. The problem with ropes camera work is the fact that the film is a dramatic play set on a stage with a film skin, making distinguishing whether camera works for a play or for a film is difficult.

Returning to the narrative, knowing the murders does something strange to the dynamic of the film, it allows the spectator to see the psyche of Brandon and Philip, but mostly Philip. and the film plays out all of Phillips anxiety, and paranoia becomes more visible, which does two things; allows the spectator to see his humanity and Brandon's lack of it, and also reveals their deeds to Rupert Cadell ( James Stewart). Pamela Hutchinson makes a valid point “Hitchcock is torturing his audience, for sure, but he is also parading his own cleverness”(Hutchinson, 2012). He does this by hinting to Brandon's subconscious need to be caught, with every move Brandon makes.

Figure 3: Slap scene (1948)

FERNANDO F. CROCE made an interesting observation of how homosexuality is portrayed in rope when he said “using gays as convenient shorthand for boogeymen”(CROCE, 2006). Hitchcock is seemingly ostracising gay men by turning them into the abject. making Brandon and Philip look like a couple Hitchcock has riddled the film with gay stereotypes, for example Philip is more effeminate, and hysterical which was a common way portray women in film. Brandon shares traits with the Femme fatale archetype commonly used in in 20th century films. Brandon does everything he can to get closer to danger. Brandon is the driving force in David Kenley murder, but is not to one who killed him directly, he got his “lover”to do the dirty work which is common for the Femme fatale archetype.

Illustrations list
Figure 1: poster. (1948) [poster] Available From: (Accessed on 16/01/2015)

Figure 2: Murder scene (1948) [Online image] Available from: (Accessed on 16/01/2015)

Figure 3: Slap scene (1948) [Online image] available from: (Accessed on 16/01/2015)


CROCE , F. (2006).Rope . At (Accessed on 16/01/2015)

Ebert, R.(1984). Rope movie review. At: (Accessed on 16/01/2015)

Hutchinson, P. (2012) Alfred Hitchcock rope . At: (Accessed on 16/01/2015)


  1. *The non-linear narrative fits the story well*.... But isn't Rope's narrative completely linear, Ryan? It's one long continuous movement... maybe look again at your filmic definitions...

    meanwhile - fascinating discussion of 'Hollywood gays' and the the femme fatale etc - very insightful, good stuff :)

  2. also - check spelling - it's Review, not *reveiw*

  3. Hey Ryan,
    Yes, I agree with Phil - a very thoughtful review :) I have to say though, that I found the moving images a bit distracting while trying to read the text...


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