Saturday, August 19, 2023

Rope (USA, 1948)

Two guys strangled to death their old colleague. After the crime they put his body in a trunk and then they organized a kind of a party and invited the parents of the colleague they have just killed, his fiancé and another common colleague they had. One of the guys who committed the crime was really sure about what he wanted to do, but the other guy seemed to have been forced by the other one to kill. It seems that he did not want too much to kill, but the other guy influenced him negatively. Then the guy who seemed to be a kind of leader, and the one who really was certain and proud of his cruelty, also invited to the party a guy who used to be his teacher in the college, the latter played by actor James Stewart.

We can observe that this specific teacher had some weird beliefs that murder must be something committed by a few privileged people, and then the lives of those people who did not matter to society must be eliminated. There were even comparisons with the terrible events that happened in World War II that killed many people and they also thought that some people were superior to others. So, this teacher had this kind of mentality. The criminals invited the teacher to the party because they thought that if the teacher knew about the murder, maybe he would understand why they committed the murder and even applauded them.

The criminals also had an elderly maid and she realized that there was something wrong in the house because she made the dining table, she organized everything, the plates, the glasses and all of a sudden the guys changed their minds and wanted to serve food in a trunk and the table was so well organized and they seemed nervous. The maid quite could not understand that. However, the party began without problems. The parents and the fiancé of the murdered guy arrived and all of them wondered why the guy didn't arrive yet. He was never late. His fiancé was worried. His parents were worried too. But of course that they could not imagine they were having dinner in the trunk with the body of their son, of their loved one, inside that.

Then the teacher arrived and he started to realize more than anyone else that there was something wrong in that house. The guy who was not too willing to kill was extremely nervous. The teacher had been the former teacher of all of those guys, both guys who committed the murder and then of the colleague of them was called, and then he saw that they were weird but it was just a suspicion. After a while, the maid told him that she also thought that the guys were weird but the teacher had no proof of his suspicion. After a while, the parents of the murdered guy decided to leave the party because they were too worried with his son. The teacher left too. But when the teacher was leaving, the maid instead of giving him his hat, she gave him, by mistake, the hat of the guy who was murdered. And the teacher knew that because of the initials of the murdered guy inside the hat. Then he had some sort of evidence that something was actually wrong. After a while, he returned to the apartment pretending to have forgotten his cigarette case and then he started to make questions. He pretended that he wanted to have a drink, to talk and after a while that guy who wasn't too willing to kill was completely nervous and ended up confessing the murder.

The other guy who was the leader and thought that murder was supposed to be committed by a superior few also confessed the murder to the teacher and the teacher, instead of finding that wonderful, got horrified and even more shocked when he realized it was his theories that influenced they to do that and he said to the guys that he was extremely ashamed of his theories for the first time in his life, that he wasn't aware of the harm that they could cause, and then he made a sort of speech that is very interesting, that who are we to decide who is superior, who is inferior? We are not God and all lives have value and everyone deserves to live, to be happy, to work, to make their dreams come true. After this moment of tension, in order to call the attention of the police, the teacher shot by the window. At that moment, both guys, especially the one who was the leader, were coldly waiting for the police to arrive. It must be pointed out that it is not shown what will happen with the characters afterwards, but it is implied that they were arrested and punished for their crime.

It is a very interesting film, especially because it was made a few years after the end of World War II when this kind of racist and eugenic ideologies were in vogue in some groups. It is a good analysis of the perversity of human mind. The criminals were so cruel that they used the rope with which they killed the guy to tie the books they gave to the father of the guy they had just murdered. And they showed no remorse. We must also keep in mind that the other guy who was too nervous, he did not exactly show any remorse. He was nervous in fear of being caught. He was not exactly regretting what he did. He was just a little bit more fearful and more influenced by the other guy. But it was not remorse for the life he had just taken. Another point that stands out is that the murders did not call their other colleague to the party because they found the guy nice or anything. It is because the fiance of the murdered guy used to be his girlfriend before she started dating the murdered guy. Thus, the criminals kind of wanted the woman to cheat on her recently deceased fiance with her former boyfriend, which was something really sick. This film is famous for its long shots. It's one of the most experimental films by Alfred Hitchcock, and in a short period of time, the narration is shown in a very smooth way, and there's nothing lacking in the suspense. The long shots give an extra effect of the tension, because we feel as if we were by the side of all characters. So we do not feel as if we are watching, we feel as if we were there seeing everything happening. Nearly all the scenes took place inside the apartment, except for the initial scene of the film, which took place on the street. It is a remarkable example of how perverse some people can be and how their minds work. It is also important to see the danger of some weird ideologies and how they can be used as an excuse to commit the most terrible acts. It is a film that never gets old.

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