The Mother of All Hitchcock Classics: ROPE

"Perfect victim for a Perfect Murder", is what Brandon Shaw (John Dall) exclaimed in when Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) convinces him to rejoice their experience of committing a 'Murder'. Oops! A 'Perfect Murder' and the satisfaction given by the power to kill. It is during the end credits of the movie that I realized, Brandon not only convinced Phillip but also convinced me through his world of expressionism.

Giving vicarious thrill by watching someone else's problem, psychological-thriller and crime-fiction are preferred genres of movies usually formatted to depict crime, blood, murder, paranoia, hard-boiled detective stories, stock characters, serial killers with a cat and mouse game. With the films of this genre making me relate to their protagonist who is either a hardboiled detective, a cop like Arun (Vishu Vishal) in Raatchasan (2018) or occasionally even the victim like Swapna (Taapsee Pannu) in Game Over (2019), Rope (1948) gave me the experience of connecting to the perpetrators (Murderers).

In a movie like Raatchasan (2019), towards the climax, we pray that the protagonist (Arun) should get caught for the murder of Christopher, but in Rope we end up praying that the murderers (Brandon & Phillip) should not get caught.

'Rope' is Alfred Hitchcock's first technicolour film and one of his most audacious efforts. Like most of Selvaraghavan's films (just an analogy), 'Rope' did not go well at the time of its release during 1948 and was recognized only eventually. With top-notch technicians and prudential execution, Hitchcock convinced this film to be a one-cut film (which was unfeasible then) through hard and dissolve cuts and handheld camera movements. The tracking camera movements triggered my curiosity, notably when it tracks Brandon who does ridiculous things aesthetically like converting a coffin (not literally) into a party buffet.

This film is an undoubted example that justifies Hitchcock as the 'Master of Suspense'. In this film, he proved himself through the creative use of locked-down shots(shots where the camera is fixed on one action while another major action is carried off-screen) at crucial moments of the story like initial stages where suspicion is developed over the murderers and especially the ultimate 'to be revealed' moment which chilled my spine and moved me to the edge of the couch.

Hitchcock is usually a filmmaker who believes in letting his audience suffer a lot by giving them distraught experiences. Yet, I feel this film remains an exception to this! This movie gave me an astonishing watch by its execution & the thesis communicated. We have come across various reasons why a murder occurs, Like Mazharvizhi (Shraddha Srinath) killing herself to become an inspiration for Madhiazhagan (Arulnidhi) in K-13. Here, the aspect of power associated with murder and the concept of aestheticism in murders, adopting Thomas De Quincey's idealism of murder as fine art expressed by the protagonist Brandon was an ice breaker to wrench us with their idealism of aestheticism and intellectual superiority.

As the movie trailer specified, this movie is an adventure suspense experience that I would never forget. A story that gives me energy. With provocative dialogues, the thesis of the movie struck hard on my mind. Despite psychological thrillers like Myskkin’s Psycho giving me a distraught feel, along with spiking adrenalin and shrinking dopamine, Rope gave me a contented solicitous feel. The authenticity to the thesis with perfect staging and the Martini shot (Final shot) is done for the high and psychological solace that 'Rope' gave me. 

 

 Written by

- ANU

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