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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

Dial M for Murder

A fading tennis pro (Ray Milland), fearing he is losing his wife (Grace Kelly)—and most of all her money—to another man (Robert Cummings) arranges to have her murdered while fabricating the perfect alibi. But when the plot goes wrong he improvises a clever new plan – to frame her for murder instead. “A romping plot, a

Psycho

“Phoenix, $40,000, car lot, traffic cop, Bates Motel, taxidermy, keyhole, shower, knife: every cinephile has committed these details to memory, with the composite whole long since contaminating the broader cultural imagination. Filmed in thirty days using Hitchcock’s television crew (along with indelible contributions from composer Bernard Herrmann and title designer Saul Bass), the densely pathological

Vertigo

Topping Sight & Sound’s most recent critics’ poll of the 50 greatest films of all time, this 1958 psychological thriller was considered a critical and box office failure in its initial release. Hitchcock casts Jimmy Stewart against type as a traumatized, former San Francisco cop turned gumshoe whose chance encounter with a mysterious woman (Kim

Rear Window

One of the most famous procedural thrillers in film history and routinely voted amongst the greatest films ever produced, Rear Window came relatively early in a long string of masterpieces from Hitchcock that all delve deeply into the American consciousness. L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) is a New York magazine photographer who spends most of

Easy Virtue

Hitch’s “wrong man” theme finds early expression in this tale of a young woman divorced by her husband after being wrongfully accused of adultery.