Hitchcock could have chosen a more entertaining subject with which to use the arresting camera and staging technique displayed in Rope. Theme is of a thrill murder, done for no reason but to satisfy a sadistical urge and intellectual vanity. Plot has its real-life counterpart in the infamous Loeb-Leopold case, and is based on the play by Patrick Hamilton [adapted by Hume Cronyn].
Feature of the picture is that story action is continuous without time lapses. Action takes place within an hour-and-a-half period and the film footage nearly duplicates the span, being 80 minutes. It is entirely confined to the murder apartment of two male dilettantes, intellectual morons who commit what they believe to be the perfect crime, then celebrate the deed with a ghoulish supper served to the victim’s relatives and friends from atop the chest in which the body is concealed.
To achieve his effects, Hitchcock put his cast and technicians through lengthy rehearsals before turning a camera.
James Stewart, as the ex-professor who first senses the guilt of his former pupils and nibbles away at their composure with verbal barbs, does a commanding job. John Dall stands out as the egocentric who masterminds the killing and ghoulish wake. Equally good is Farley Granger as the weakling partner in crime.