Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums

Go Back   Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums > General Discussion > Mayberry Lounge

Mayberry Lounge Light-hearted humor and intelligent discussion only. No flaming.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-17-2009, 02:39 PM   #1
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
Icon1 CLASSIC FILM 101: Rope (1948)

If Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 thriller Rope is nothing else, it's a successful experimental film. Not only was it Hitchcock's first film in color, but it was one of the most ambitious productions up to that point.

For a long time before making this film, Hitchcock had the idea of wanting to film a play, but specifically, filming it as if it was actually a play, i.e. long, uninterrupted takes, and with Rope, that's exactly what he did.

The film is made up of ten takes and the total running time is 80 minutes, and while the amount of time actually covered in the narrative is around 100 minutes, it feels like you're watching the events on the screen unfold in real time, and that, of course, is what Hitchcock wanted.

The film opens as best friends John Dall and Farley Granger strangle their other friend, Dick Hogan.



Nice opening, huh?

Dall is a sociopath, plain and simple, and he's very manipulative, and he got his buddy, Granger, to go along with his sick plan. Dall wanted to see if you could really pull off the perfect murder, but simply killing someone and dumping the body isn't a challenge.

No, a challenge would be killing a man, stuffing his body into a trunk, having a dinner party with a guest list that includes your victim's parents as well as his fiancee, and serving dinner off of the trunk that's holding his body.

That's a challenge, and that's Hitchcock

Once they get Hogan's body into the trunk, their maid, Edith Evanson, returns and they start setting up for dinner.

When the guests start coming, Granger learns that, among Sir Cedric Hardwicke (playing Hogan's father), Joan Chandler (playing Hogan's fiancee), and Douglas Dick (playing the fourth friend and Chandler's ex), there's also a surprise guest Dall invited without Granger's knowledge: Their old headmaster from prep school, Rupert Cadell, played by James Stewart, who appears in his first of four eventual collaborations with Hitchcock.

Granger can't believe Dall invited Stewart. He knows, of all of the people that were going to be there, Stewart would be the one to not only suspect but find out. He's the one who, during their school days, opined about how murder should be reserved for the truly superior human beings and that it'd be a great tool to even things out, sort of a checks-and-balance system. Dall took his theories to the extreme though, and he thinks the cherry on the cake would be pulling it off without the slick Stewart exposing them.

The dinner party is the crux of the film. Among other things, we get a feel for the dynamics between each guest, from Dall's mischievousness in trying to get Dick and Chandler back together to Granger's almost uncontrollable nerves.

There's also a great scene between Chandler and Constance Collier, who plays Hardwicke's sister-in-law and his guest at the party since his wife is home sick. They're talking about the various leading men they like, including James Mason, who they agree makes a great villain (and funny enough, Hitchcock seemed to agree seeing how he cast Mason as the villain in North by Northwest) before they land on Cary Grant.

Now it's funny enough that they're talking about Cary Grant---who had appeared in two of Hitchcock's films up to that point---but then Collier asks if Chandler had seen his latest film, "that new thing with [Ingrid] Bergman. What was it called, now? 'The something of the something.' No, that's the other one. This was just plain 'something.'"



This, to your more ardent film fan, is an obvious reference to Hitchcock's earlier film Notorious.

Off the top of my head, the only other directors I can think of who have referred to one of their own works within another film is when Stanley Kubrick included the 2001 soundtrack in the record store scene of A Clockwork Orange and when Ingmar Bergman included footage from his film Prison within the avant-garde style opening sequence of his film Persona.

I love how coincidental it is that the three men I consider to be the three greatest filmmakers that have ever lived happen to also be the only three filmmakers with the balls to do something like this.

Anyway, back to the film. As the dinner party continues, Dall and Granger both tip their hands a bit, first when Dall is telling the guests how great a chicken strangler Granger is at the farm.

Granger immediately lashes out at Dall, demanding he stop telling lies and insisting he'd never strangled a chicken before in his life. Stewart finds this very intriguing and wonders why the two of them are so hotheaded, Granger in particular, who'd been acting stranger than the sociopath Dall.



This macabre talk then leads Stewart to go into his radical theories on murder. He talks about the same things that so captivated Dall, and when Hardwicke tells Stewart he finds his ideas must either be a joke or else he's nuts, Dall takes over, informing Hardwicke that murder is fine so long as the people committing it are superior beings and the people being murdered are insignificant.

Hardwicke is dismayed at Dall's ideas, likening such ideology to Hitler, and the conversation becomes quite a heated argument.



Dall apologies to Hardwicke for getting carried away and everything goes back to normal. . .except for Stewart, who's alarm bells are going off like mad. He takes Dall aside, commenting on how serious he seemed to get into the discussion. He even asks him if he's "planning to do away with any inferiors."


__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman

Last edited by Bullitt68; 03-09-2010 at 07:12 PM.
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 02:40 PM   #2
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
By this time, Hardwicke and Chandler are beginning to worry at Hogan's mysterious disappearance. He was supposed to be at the party, too, but they just assumed he'd been held up. Now, though, they've already eaten and he hadn't even called, let alone arrived.

Also, Evanson tells Stewart how both Dall and Granger had been acting strange all day, right up to and including their bizarre choice to serve dinner off of an ugly trunk in the living room as opposed to the lovely table in the dining room.



Granger sees them hanging around the trunk and he goes over and tries to rush Evanson away. Unfortunately, he can't do the same to Stewart, who takes the opportunity as Granger plays the piano to try a little interrogation.



He tells Granger he knows he'd strangled plenty of chickens in his lifetime and he asks why he was so upset at Dall's story. He knows something's going on, that this is no ordinary dinner party, and he asks what Dall's up to.

Granger is freaking out, but then when Stewart asks him if Dall's trying to get Dick and Chandler back together, he just laughs in relief.

Everyone else comes back into the living room, and by this point, Hardwicke is ready to leave to find Hogan. Meanwhile, as everyone is offering logical explanations for Hogan's absence, Evanson is clearing the leftover food and candles off the trunk.



All that's left is for her to do is to put the books next to it back in the trunk---meaning, of course, opening the trunk and finding Hogan's body---but just as she's about to do it, Stewart walks over and says, "I'll help you with that," and then, when the audience can't take the suspense anymore, Dall rushes over and tells Evanson she can leave the books until the following morning when she comes back to clean.

Stewart is beyond suspicious now. He's pretty much certain either Dall alone or both Dall and Granger did something to Hogan, but he hasn't the faintest idea what.

Hardwicke and Collier leave and Dick and Chandler go with them. Stewart decides he might as well leave, too, so Evanson gives him his hat. He puts it on and Evanson quickly notices she gave him the wrong hat. Stewart takes it off and looks inside and sees the initials "D.K." for Hogan's character, David Kentley.



He leaves, mortified, and Dall is practically radiating triumph while Granger looks physically and mentally exhausted.

Before they can celebrate their success, the phone rings and it's Stewart. He tells them he left his cigarette case and he wants to get it back.

When he returns, he confronts the two of them with what he knows: Hogan disappeared and Dall and Granger either know what happened or are responsible. Dall is armed and if Stewart confirms his knowledge, Dall is prepared to kill him, but Stewart fakes ignorance and gets Dall to reveal the gun he had hidden in his pocket.

Once he puts it on the piano, Stewart then lays his cards on the table, and after a struggle with Granger, retrieves the gun and tells them to get away from the trunk.

He tells them he doesn't want to open the trunk, but he has to, and Dall says, "Fine. I hope you like what you see."

When he finds Hogan's body, he absolutely does NOT like what he sees, and he lets Dall know. He tells him he thinks he's despicable and he tells both Dall and Granger that they're going to die for what they did. He then takes the gun and fires off several shots out the window, prompting the other residents to call the police, ending Dall's and Granger's plan.

And so ends the film, but the discussion is only just beginning.

I should make a couple of things known. First, this film is famous for an early and daring portrayal of homosexuality. Nothing could be made explicit due to the censors and the Catholic Legion of Decency, but there were implications of Dall's and Granger's homosexuality, and indeed, according to screenwriter Arthur Laurents, Dall and Granger were supposed to be lovers and Stewart was supposed to be a homosexual and was even supposed to have had an affair with one or both of the boys during their schooling.

Now maybe I'm just dense (a possibility, I admit ) but I didn't pick up on that the first time I watched Rope through and only after reading that did I have any idea that's what they were going for.

There's also a documentary on the Rope DVD called Rope Unleashed and it pretty much features Laurents insulting Hitchcock's directorial merit and talking about everything he did wrong in the film, including the way he killed the suspense by showing the murder in the opening and by ignoring the sexual relationship between Stewart and the killers. He also hated Stewart's casting, and even Stewart felt uncomfortable in the role.

For my money, though, I think everything Hitchcock did in opposition of Laurents' ideas was for the better of the film and I think James Stewart did a phenomenal job as Rupert Cadell.

1) Laurents didn't want the murder to be shown in the film because he wanted there to be suspense and uncertainty about whether or not there was really a body in the trunk. I don't know about you, but I think that's stupid. The real suspense comes from knowing there's a body in the trunk and being on the edge of your seat every time you think it's going to be found.

2) Laurents wanted there to be more explicit handling of the homosexuality and I don't feel it was necessary. First of all, you didn't need Dall and Granger to be gay for their dynamic to work. IMO, my initial perception---Dall always being the strong-willed one who could manipulate his friend to his will---worked much better. Furthermore, I think Stewart's homosexuality and his past relationship with one or both boys was wholly unnecessary. The relationship between Stewart and Dall in the film I thought was much stronger because it's not one of sexual connection but one of reverance. Dall simply worships Stewart. He didn't want him there to see if he could trick him. HE WANTED TO BE FOUND OUT. He wanted his hero, his idol, to be let in on the scheme and to be in awe of Dall's ingenuity.

3) Stewart's performance was great. I don't know why anybody would think otherwise. He's a darker, more complex character than any other he'd played up to that point and arguably darker and more complex than any character in his career save for his final collaboration with Hitchcock with Vertigo. He maintained that same Stewart charm but he was also incredibly wry and caustic while at the same time being perceptive and extremely intelligent. Then, at the end, when he finds out what his former students had done and he tells them how disgusted he is and how insane they are, it practically screams in your face, "This is a great performance."

I really don't have much to say by way of criticism. Granted, this film isn't among Hitchcock's best, but that doesn't mean anything since Hitchcock is one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live and produced some of the greatest films ever made, so just because Rope isn't as good as Vertigo or Psycho, that shouldn't imply that it's not a great film in its own right because it absolutely is.

If you haven't seen this one, then regardless of how much---or how little---you like Hitchcock, definitely check it out.

__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman

Last edited by Bullitt68; 03-09-2010 at 07:13 PM.
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
That's it for this week's Classic Film thread. Next week is one of maybe half a dozen films that, above all the other great films I have left to cover, I've been REALLY looking forward to doing: The Third Man.



Thanks for reading.

__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 07:59 PM   #4
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
ttt

__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
BallHammer

Blue Belt
 
BallHammer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 526
vCash: 500
Rope is excellent. There was a weak attempt at a remake recently starring Jay from Jay and Silent Bob. It was a terrible idea, but I can't remember the name of the movie.

BallHammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2009, 01:41 AM   #6
Tropics1020

Brown Belt
 
Tropics1020's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,813
vCash: 500
North by Northwest Rear Window and Pshyco are my favorite Hitchcock movies.

Tropics1020 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2009, 01:45 AM   #7
Will Jacobs

Gold Belt
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 24,790
vCash: 500
I had no idea this movie existed. I'll have to go to the library this weekend and check it out.

__________________
"Something to believe in...
...is something to become."
Will Jacobs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2009, 02:22 AM   #8
Blitz55
It's a Willow Winter Celebration
 
Blitz55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: My Bodys in Washington, My Hearts in Texas and my Brain is in Middle Earth
Posts: 24,517
vCash: 500
Anything with Stewart is cool with me.
My favorite is Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Seen that many times.
Another good post Bullitt

__________________
Dear Jerry Jones,
Please fuck off!
Sincerely,
Dallas Cowboy Fans Everywhere


Online Older brother to Linkuei (OLB)
Blitz55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2009, 11:25 AM   #9
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by BallHammer View Post
Rope is excellent. There was a weak attempt at a remake recently starring Jay from Jay and Silent Bob. It was a terrible idea, but I can't remember the name of the movie.
I never knew that. If you find out what it's called, I'd be interested to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropics1020 View Post
North by Northwest Rear Window and Pshyco are my favorite Hitchcock movies.
Same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Jacobs View Post
I had no idea this movie existed. I'll have to go to the library this weekend and check it out.
I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz55 View Post
Anything with Stewart is cool with me.
My favorite is Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Seen that many times.
Have you seen The Philadelphia Story? One of the best comedic performances ever IMO.

__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-19-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
Bullitt68
Senior Moderator
 
Bullitt68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 22,796
vCash: 500
ttt

__________________
"[We must] abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents, as well."

-Bruce Lee

www.sherdog.net/forums/f48/classic-film-index-894553/

https://chicago.academia.edu/KyleBarrowman
Bullitt68 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


Latest Threads



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:04 PM.

Sherdog.com Forum Rules Clear Cookies Social Groups Lost Password
Contact Us - Sherdog Forums - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Top - AdChoices

Skin made by Alex. © iStyles.uni.cc Powered by vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
forums.sherdog.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. ©2014 All Rights Reserved.
monitoring_string = "fd5733925866a04e50edd70f38dfaa35"
monitoring_string = "603ac9fff68f23709f2a42bf5e29272b"