'Alfred Hitchcock''s Rope (1948) is very different from Patrick Hamilton's play of the same name. Hitchcock made his own adaptation with Hume Cronyn and created new characters for their adaptation. In the play, there is no Janet Walker, no Mrs. Wilson, no Kenneth Lawrence, and no Mrs. Atwater. The play takes place in England. Brandon Shaw is Wyndham Brandon and Philip Morgan is Charles Granillo in the play. In the play, Rupert Cadell is only 29 years old and he is the current teacher of only Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo. In the film, Rupert looks like he is at least around the age of mid 40s. Rupert had been the teacher of Brandon Shaw, Philip Morgan, Kenneth Lawrence, and David Kentley. In the film, Rupert is currently a publisher.
Montgomery Clift was the original choice to play Brandon Shaw.
Cary Grant was the first choice to play the role of the teacher, Rupert Cadell.
Dick Hogan's cameo as the murder victim, David Kentley, is his last appearance in a film.
Alfred Hitchcock made an opening romantic scene in Central Park with Joan Chandler (Janet Walker) and Dick Hogan (David Kentley). The scene was used for the 1948 promotional trailer but deleted in the film.
Alfred Hitchcock only managed to shoot roughly one segment per day. The last four or five segments had to be completely re-shot because Hitchcock wasn't happy with the color of the sunset.
Alfred Hitchcock would later dismiss his experiment with 10 minute takes as being just a stunt.
Alfred Hitchcock's first color film.
Alfred Hitchcock's inspiration for the long takes came from a BBC Television broadcast of "Rope" in 1939. The producer, Dallas Bower, decided on the technique in order to keep the murder chest constantly in shot.
Although the film lasts 80 minutes and is supposed to be in "real time", the time frame it covers is actually longer - a little more than 100 minutes. This is accomplished by speeding up the action: the formal dinner lasts only 20 minutes, the sun sets too quickly and so on. The September 2002 issue of Scientific American contains a complete analysis of this technique (and the effect it has on the viewers, who actually feel as if they watched a 100-minutes movie).
Contrary to popular belief and Hitchcock's own claims in later interviews, there are several conventional edits during the movie: when Janet arrives at the party; when Phillip shouts "That's a lie!"; when Mrs. Wilson enters the room to announce the telephone call from David's mother; and when Brandon reaches into his pocket for his gun while Rupert narrates his theory on how the murder was committed. Some add the cut from the shot of the apartment's exterior (with the opening titles superimposed over it) to its interior at the beginning, but that one does not genuinely contradict the claim that the film is made to simulate a single continuous take any more than the cut to the end credits does.
David's name is mentioned several times throughout the film by most of the characters. They say his name a total of 73 times. The only two characters that never mention his name is Mrs Wilson, and, quite surprisingly, Phillip.
During filming, the cast had to avoid tripping on cables that laid over the floor, because of the moving cameras and lighting.
Eleven years after being mentioned in Rope as making an excellent villain, James Mason was finally cast by Alfred Hitchcock as such in North by Northwest.
Filmed January 12-February 21 1948. There are 10 shots within the film overall, running 9:34, 7:51, 7:18, 7:09, 9:59, 8:35, 7:50, 10:06, 4:37 and 5:40 minutes:seconds each.
Screenwriter Arthur Laurents assures that in the original play, the character of Cadell (played by James Stewart) allegedly had an affair with one of the two murderers while in school.
Screenwriter Arthur Laurents claims that the actress that played the maid used to be treated like one by the other actors, while shooting.
Since the filming times were so long, everybody on the set tried their best to avoid any mistakes. At one point in the movie, the camera dolly ran over and broke a cameraman's foot, but to keep filming, he was gagged and dragged off. Another time, a woman puts her glass down but misses the table. A stagehand had to rush up and catch it before the glass hit the ground. Both parts are used in the final cut.
Story was very loosely based on the real-life murder committed by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, which was also the (fictionalized) subject of Compulsion and Swoon.
The apartment is supposedly located around Second Avenue and 54th street in NYC. The view out the window is looking to the West.