Filmic Space and Real Time in Rope by Alfred Hitchcock

Flickhead, January 10th, 2010

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) is known as a questionable experiment because of its virtual abandonment of cutting in lieu of a moving camera. The magazine of a 35mm motion picture camera holds ten minutes of film. The separate camera movements in Rope, each lasting approximately ten minutes, were attached by dissolves, some seamless, some not, which occur as the camera moves either across a character’s back or the surface of an object, such as the final camera movement which commences with a dissolve across the chest lid when Rupert discovers, to his horror, David’s body. “I hope you like what you see!” declares Brandon defiantly as he realizes that Rupert’s decision to open the chest is unalterable.

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