Shot Transitions and Narrative Logic in Hitchcock's Rope

  • Philippe Mather


SHOT TRANSITIONS AND NARRATIVE LOGIC IN HITCHCOCK'S ROPE Rope (1948, Alfred Hitchcock) belongs to a group of films including Lady in the Lake (1947, Robert Montgomery) which, in the history of classical Hollywood cinema, have experimented with the conventions of the continuity editing system, hoping perhaps to achieve a heightened spectatorial identification with the narrative, through a consistent use of the point-of-view shot for instance, or a seemingly uninterrupted long take with camera movement. These experiments are informative in that they tend rather to confirm the established system's apparent neutrality, its ability at "invisible" narration. I will argue that Rope's attempts at creating "hidden" cuts, chiefly through camera movement and close-ups of a jacket, result in defamiliarizing classical d├ęcoupage: the "hidden" cuts become much more noticeable than those involving eyeline matches, for example. Firstly, there are technological factors which play a role in determining the way in which a...