Rope ★★★★½

"We did get up on the wrong side of the bed." Brand new long review (spoilers).

Extra comments: I watched the extras on the DVD for the first time since I bought it, which was probably 15 years ago; all but one person interviewed has since died. I hope we're keeping track of how invaluable some of these cheaply produced DVD supplements will be someday. Anyway, Arthur Laurents says a lot of things that are insightful, and one thing so absolutely wrong I couldn't believe it: he claims that in his conception, the murder isn't shown and the audience is never sure that there's a body in the chest, and that he was surprised by the violent way the picture opened when he saw it, and that it made the film less effective. But this would wreck everything: would make the story, in Hitchcock's terms, about "surprise" rather than "suspense" -- the most harrowing moment, when the tablecloth is removed and the chest nearly opened, would be vastly less effective, and our troubling identification with Phillip and Brandon would be violated. This reminds me of people who think Vertigo would be better without Judy's letter, which never made sense to me.

I also watched the film's truly bizarre trailer for the first time; Hitchcock students should never forget to do this, as they're often wildly offbeat and seldom built on actual footage from the movie in question. In this case, we see a full extra scene of the victim David and his girlfriend Janet from the film having a cute little romantic scene on a park bench with light, bouncy music playing before James Stewart appears to announce "that was the last time she saw him alive... and that's the last time you'll see him alive." Dark.