"FIVE STARS! ROPE is not merely a stunt that is justified by the extraordinary career that contains it, but one of the movies that makes that career extraordinary."
-THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1984
"The fondness of Alfred Hitchcock for cinematic tours de force is admirable evidence of the agility and aggressiveness of his mind."
-THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1948
ROPE remains one of Hitchcock’s most daring films. It was his first in technicolor, the whole film playing out in real time through the use of long takes and hidden cuts, and it featured near-representation of queer characters. Based of the stage play by Patrick Hamilton, who in turn was inspired by the true Leopold and Loeb murder case, ROPE is a tension filled and claustrophobic suspense film. What uncoils is a fascinating psychological and philosophical thriller exploring queer desire, societal transgression, and Nietzchean philosophy.
In the film, Brandon and Phillip strangle their former classmate from Harvard University in an attempt to commit the “perfect murder.” To flaunt their feeling of superiority, they perversely decide to host a dinner party around the corpse. The only person who suspects them is their former Professor, Rupert Cadell, played by Jimmy Stewart in his first collaboration with Hitchcock. Implicitly coded as queer, Brandon and Phillip explore similar dom-sub positions from REBECCA. The addition of Rupert further complicates their desire and adds an extra element of eroticism through the idea of education. This subversive love triangle edged with debates about morality and the concept of the Nietzchean Superman makes for a fascinating Hitchcockian thriller.
This film is presented on 35mm, followed by Miami’s Nietczhean Supermen Ded Cooter and King Femme, who will grace the stage for a performance inspired by the film.
ROPE is part of the QUEER FEAR: FOUR BY HITCHCOCK series this October at the Bill Cosford Cinema. Other films include REBECCA (1940) on October 7, STAGE FRIGHT (1950) on October 21 and PSYCHO (1960) on October 28. All screenings are at 8PM, free, and open to the public.
Flaming Classics is made possible by the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the City of Coral Gables, Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Florida Humanities Council, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Norton Herrick Center for Motion Picture Studies, and patrons of the series.