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Rope Review

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Shaw Brandon and his roommate Phillip strangle their Harvard undergraduate friend, David, and hide his body in a trunk in the middle of their apartment. However, during the course of a single evening, their crime is eventually uncovered by their old, war-wounded prep school teacher, Rupert Cadell.

★★★★

Largely remembered as an unsuccessful experiment — the whole film consists of sustained eight-minute takes without camera cuts, which perhaps accounts for the ragged tone of the performances — this Alfred Hitchcock melodrama is an adaption of a play by Patrick Hamilton (Gaslight, The Charmer) about the Leopold and Loeb murder case.

Academic detective James Stewart comes on like Columbo as he deduces that two of his pupils — John Dall and Farley Granger, who have a then-unusual quasi-gay relationship — have impulsively murdered a third. The trickery is still distracting, but there are hints in this 1948 film of the perversity that will yield Psycho, Strangers On A Train, Vertigo and Rear Window, so it’s a must for Hitch collectors.

A strange foreboding of what was to come from the Hitch