Given Alfred Hitchcock‘s penchant for thrilling stories that demanded a big screen cinematic backdrop to play out on, his decision to adapt Patrick Hamilton’s play “Rope” seemed odd. Set in a single room, where there was no mystery exactly but rather the tension of the murderers getting caught, so perhaps the challenge lay in the contained nature of the story. Hitchcock embraced it, decided that it would be his first Technicolor production (what better way to test the format than in a movie with one location?) and then attempted to create the illusion of a single take movie with no obvious cuts between scenes.
While these days single takes are almost commonplace, it was certainly a bold move in 1948 and even if through contemporary eyes the experiment didn’t quite work, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. Vashi Nedomansky has put together a pretty nice 3-minute compilation collecting the ten edits Hitchcock tried to hide in “Rope” (constraints of film production at the time meant he could only shoot ten minutes continuously at any one stretch). They are pretty fascinating to watch, and really very clever too. Ultimately, it’s just one more reminder of Hitchcock’s confidence both as a storyteller and technician.