|Fig.1 Theatrical Poster|
Hitchcock said that the reason he confined himself to a single shot was to emphasise the fact that the action occured in "real time"; he believed that, like the play the screenplay was based on, if there were any jumps in the action then there would be no suspense - the possibility would have been raised that the body might have been moved when the audience couldn't see it (Ebert, 1984).
At the time of its release, many reviews were critical of its "slow" pace and lack of interest, with the New York Time review observing that "...the tedium of waiting or someone to open that chest and discover the hidden body...(and)...the unpunctuated flow of image becomes quite monotonous." (Crowther, 1948). Even Hitchcock expressed reservations about the film, describing it as "An experiment that didn't work out" (Ebert, 1984), while some questioned his basic premise, pointing out that several contemporary films had successfully conveyed the idea of "real time" action despite using cuts.
However, when the film was re-released in 1984, it recieved a considerably more favourable reception, with reviews lauding Hitchcocks slow and masterful creation of tension. The New York Times review of the re-release stated that ""Rope" is not merely a stunt that is justified by the extraordinary career that contains it, but one of the movies that makes that career extraordinary. (Canby, 1984)
Ebert, Roger (1984) Rope In: rogerebert.com [Online] At: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19840615/REVIEWS/811069998/1023 (Accessed on 07/02/2011)
TimeOut Staff (1948) Rope (1948) In: TimeOut London [Online] At: http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/76944/rope.html (Accessed on 07/02/2011)