Rope

Brandon pulling the curtains after the murder

Hitchcock uses the curtains in the opening of Rope to implicate the audience in the dark performance Brandon and Philip put on for their “perfect murder.” After they strangle David, Brandon attempts to calm Philip by opening the curtains letting in the light, and says: “It’s the darkness that’s got you down- nobody ever feels really safe in the dark” and pulls the curtains. Addressing an audience presumably in a theater, Hitchcock is reminding us we should not feel safe in the dark or watching his film. This mirroring of cinema is repeated as Brandon pulls the curtain which is fashioned to reveal the cityscape in the same way curtains of a theater reveal the screen or setting. By recreating theatrical symbols in the exposition of the film, Hitchcock is emphasizing the importance of the structure of Rope— which mimics a play. He is also implicating the audience and we are suddenly on stage to the world after knowing the heinous crime that has been committed. Our knowledge is what builds suspense through the movie as the audience is forced to sit knowing about the corpse while being reminded that we too are always watched. The camera and audience take an active role in the deception Brandon and Philip initiate as neither can change the outcome of the film but are immediately forced to participate due to the reminders of vision and performance that work on multiple levels in cinema.

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