Sunday, June 17, 2012
100 Classic Movies #57: Rope (1948)
Sigh. It’s finally happened, and I'm trying not to be too heartbroken or upset about it. I knew no one man could have a career of perfect entertainment. Until this day, I’d never seen a Hitchcock movie that wasn’t exceptionable and memorable. Rope has exceptional moments, but it certainly isn’t memorable.
I have to break my long-standing rule about not trying to compare a movie to either prequels or other works involving the same cast or crew. I absolutely have to, because this is Hitchcock. The man defined a whole film genre in such a way that his passing left a frigging vacuum that has yet to be filled. At least not consistently. I’m not sure that I can see Rope as something other than a Hitchcock movie, and compare it to some of my favorite movies ever, like Rear Window, Strangers On a Train, and The Lady Vanishes.
Rope has bones that usually pander to me: it’s based, albeit loosely, on a real murder. It has Jimmy Stewart, who I always like, even here, although this won’t go down as my favorite Jimmy Stewart role. It probably won’t be in my top ten list, either. It’s also a Hitchcock, so I was prepared to love this, especially since I’ve seen parts of it before, and don’t remember having my current reaction to the movie.
I noticed that Hitchock did some really lengthy shots in this movie. The party scenes weren’t brief scenes separated by those cigarette burns… thanks, Fight Club, for pointing out those damned things to me. I think that whole party scene, approximately half of the movie, was like three scenes. I’m not sure why I noticed that, although I suspect that the reason was that I stopped spotting those marks in the upper right corner of the movie screen.
What was missing in this movie for me? The damned suspense! The mystery! Those things that really make Hitchcock’s movies stand out from the imitators. This felt a little bit like a really bad game of clue where two Mr. Greens did it in the parlor with a rope. The cast was okay, but not enough to detract from what feels a little bit like a flop of a story.