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Among the most Hitchcokian of Hitchock murder thrillers, Rope’s philosophical aspirations represent the director’s most morbid thoughts. Rope spends some 80-minutes exploring death, the morality behind killing, and whether society can function in such a state, all while a stage-y, performative play doles out these ideas.

It’s uneven, overacted, and even ridiculous, but the purpose isn’t reality, rather an exploration of moral arrogance through the eyes of a young, wealthy socialite and his not-well-hidden romance with another man. Discussions concern what makes a general murderer better than Hitler, and whether killing can be a benefit to society. Rope’s thesis – at least from the twisted mind of Brandon (John Dall) – is that the rich earn such control, such rights, by way of their social standing. So that’s what Brandon and Phillip (Farley Granger) do, murdering their friend in a test of their limits.

Originally a stage play, Rope feels as such

What happens is absurd, the two men hiding their crime in their living room storage, and with no sense of mourning or guilt (for Brandon, anyway) host a casual dinner party with the deceased’s parents, girlfriend, and philosophy professor. There, they bring up the topic of death and murder in front of a gorgeous New York skyline backdrop, the camera never leaving the apartment once inside.

Rope is a lot of trickery, coordination, and precision, filmmaking elements that are often blatant in their long take techniques to a point of distraction. Originally a stage play, Rope feels as such, as does a later Hitchcock offering, Dial M for Murder, although Rope’s technical achievement is quite marvelous even as it distracts.

While curiously morbid, it’s still a sightly film, posh and upscale, with an ever present booze cart, candles, and a piano. Rope visually sets its tone, that of people who feel above rules and law to such a degree, they could continue their lives unabated. Brandon at least, not so much Phillip who drinks himself into a guilty stupor.

Jimmy Stewart, always a calming, gentle screen presence, needs to make convincing leaps in logic to make Rope works, but the continued intensity alleviates those faults. The body is always there, usually on screen but inside a cabinet, creating a visual thrill. Brandon and Phillip’s heartless game is ever present as their emotions begin spilling out in opposite directions, leading to sharp (if unnatural) dialog exploring society at its most depraved. Or, that’s just Hitchcock.


Aside from remnants of a vertical scratch in the first major long take, Rope appears spotless. Gorgeous grain structure looks astounding, resolved flawlessly. Universal’s encode doesn’t struggle.

Marvelous resolution draws out detail at levels impossible on Blu-ray. Facial definition stands out, the crispness unreal and unwavering. Around the apartment, flowers and booze bottles lose nothing to time. At their best, it’s easy to even read the exact labels on the wine and champagne.

HDR breathes life into reflections on the wine glasses. Candles lightly intensify. A slight brown-ish tone permeates the scenery, but that’s more of the era than any grading oddity; the apartment is decked out in various manillas and tans. Primaries do break out, from again the flowers.


In DTS-HD, the vintage audio sounds smooth, crisp, and pure, defying Rope’s. Just by fidelity alone, it’s impossible to guess this was released in the ’40s. Dialog clarity is actually astounding considering, without a single fault.


A featurette on the making of runs 32-minutes, production stills, and a trailer reside on the UHD.

  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


Rope’s technical accomplishment doesn’t diminish or distract from the core philosophical or moral angles.

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 34 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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