Rope

The first Technicolor film of Hitchcock’s career (to be followed by such masterpieces as Vertigo and North by Northwest), Rope is a taut, icy thriller—made ostensibly in a single shot—based on the Leopold and Loeb murder of 1924, in which two upper-crust young men sought to commit the “perfect crime.” Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger) form the blue-blooded, nefarious duo in Hitch’s version; the pair set up a morbid dinner party at their Manhattan high-rise apartment, going so far as to serve food from atop the chest in which they’ve hidden the corpse. Guests include the unknowing family of their victim and their former college professor Rupert Caldwell (James Stewart), who once preached Nietzsche’s theory of the Übermensch to his impressionable students. Brandon in particular is happy to ratchet up the tension in the room at any opportunity, whereas Phillip is all jitters and twitches, leading to a gripping climax in which Rupert abandons his previous theories of social superiority in favor of classic Jimmy Stewart justice. Rope is one of the least heralded, strangest pictures of Hitchcock’s career, but all the more fascinating for the formal techniques and typically loaded psychology at play. “Not exactly a picture to warm your heart, take your mom to or make out by…so chilly you could ice champagne in it or place it around a silver serving dish of fresh caviar.”—Vincent Canby, The New York Times.

Genres: Thriller

Other Films by Alfred Hitchcock

Easy Virtue

The tyrannies of polite British society come under scrutiny in this adaptation of Noël Coward’s stage hit of the same name. Adapted by Eliot Stannard, who scripted most of Hitchcock’s silent films, EASY VIRTUE offers an early example of one of Hitchcock’s favorite themes: the “wrong man”—in this case, woman. After Larita Filton is unjustly

The Manxman

In a remote fishing village on the Isle of Man, two boyhood friends—one a lawyer, the other a fisherman—are torn apart when they discover they are in love with the same woman—smolderingly sensual Anny Ondra, whom Hitchcock also cast in his suspense masterpiece BLACKMAIL. Shooting in Cornwall, Hitchcock makes striking use of the dramatic natural

The Pleasure Garden

Hitchcock’s first film, shot in Germany and on location in Italy at Lake Como, is set in the world of seedy London nightclubs. Two young dancers, one celebrated, the other finding her way, take intertwined paths to romantic tragedy. The first of several Hitchcock films about women putting faith in men they don’t really know—to

Champagne

CHAMPAGNE stars the bubbly Betty Balfour as a frivolous flapper whose millionaire father looks to teach her a lesson in frugality by letting her think he’s gone bankrupt. The movie brims with sight gags, with a swaying camera mimicking the roll of an ocean liner to generate several humorously queasy moments. But the comedy also

Downhill

“DOWNHILL mixes cynical humor with sexual horror as it tracks star rugby player Roddy’s descent from upstanding British schoolboy to Montmartre gigolo, the downhill road laid for him by a series of scheming women. Hitchcock’s formal audacity is on flamboyant display in false flashbacks, upside-down POV shots, and massive foreground objects dwarfing the characters behind