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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Friday, March 8, 2013
7:00 p.m. Rope
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1948)

Rope was the first film Hitchcock produced himself and over which he had complete creative control. The result is a disturbing and distasteful story (two young men strangle a friend and stuff his body into a chest, on which they serve dinner to his family and fiancée) as well as a famous experiment in film form. Rope appears to be shot in one continuous take with no cuts—like an unbroken rope. Poulenc’s Mouvement perpetuel is the fitting musical accompaniment. William Rothman wrote: “The deliberateness of every move the camera makes creates a state of perpetual tension. . . . At the center of Rope there is a secret—there will be no cuts, only camera movements—that is no secret at all. This . . . defines the film’s conception (and) makes its execution a virtuoso performance.”

—Marilyn Fabe

• Written by Arthur Laurents, Hume Cronyn, Ben Hecht, based on the play Rope’s End by Patrick Hamilton. Photographed by Joseph Valentine, William V. Skall. With James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Cedric Hardwicke. (80 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal)