Rope ★★★★½

I had seen Rope before, many years ago, but had all-but forgotten the plot. It was a gripping watch. The dialogue is rich and fast and funny and unsettling. In fact, the whole film is very unsettling, and it has that great vibe of just waiting for someone to get caught out. 

But, inevitably - because my brain cannot sit still for five minutes - what really fascinates me is the production. Those long, unbroken takes. The wide, linear set. The view out of the vast window - as artificial as it seems, but as carefully as it is made to show the passing of time. The way how, on the one hand, we are shown a whole scene as if it were a play, and on the other the camera trundles along behind two characters having a private conversation which we are privy to.

It's all very clever, and it makes for a gripping narrative.

The film also looks pretty glorious, in a sort of muted, early-colour-film way. I believe it was Hitchcock's first colour film, and the idea of him using such a film to experiment with long, uncut takes - including one over ten minutes, which I believe was about the limit of the film reel at the time - all brings to mind Christopher Nolan chucking gigantic IMAX cameras into scenes that were otherwise deemed impossible, and getting stunning results.

It's always interesting to see a play that's been turned into a film but, in the case of Rope, it seems like Hitchcock actually went to more effort to keep it feeling like a stage play than he would have if he'd filmed it as a more 'traditional' film with A/B shots (or do I mean reverse angles?) and so on.