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ROPE

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

80 minutes, U.S.A., 1948, Colour, 35mm


Rope will be introduced by Jamie Young as part of the SET Launch – a new quarterly zine concerning the relationship between cinema and its architecture.

Hitchcock followed a post-war trend in forming, like Ford and Capra, his own company, Transatlantic, with English impresario Sidney Bernstein as partner. Rope, their first production, appropriately relocates an English stage play to America.

Two factors separate it spectacularly from the norms of the period: the young male couple responsible for the gratuitous murder that opens the film are clearly coded as homosexual; and there are only ten cuts in an 80-minute running-time, as the camera traces complex movements around the single set of the men’s apartment. Even these cuts are dictated only by the maximum 10-minute length of a reel: the ‘editing within the shot’ is an extraordinary feat of experimentation, and did not stop Rope enjoying a decent success, helped by Technicolor, and by the casting of James Stewart in his first Hitchcock role.

This event is part of The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock: Part Four, the final part of our complete retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films (March 2nd – 31st).

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