What is it about?
Just before hosting a dinner party, Philip Morgan (Farley Granger) and Brandon Shaw (John Dall) strangle a mutual friend to death with a piece of rope, purely as a Nietzsche-inspired philosophical exercise. Hiding the body in a chest upon which they then arrange a buffet dinner, the pair welcomes their guests, including the victim’s oblivious fiancée (Joan Chandler) and the college professor (James Stewart) whose lectures inadvertently inspired the killing. (Source)
What the film told me?
Even if an individual superiority is “agreed” on, he cannot just do anything he pleased. There are some boundaries need to placed that makes us a civilized, protecting the inferior and limiting the power of the superior. The film presents compelling narratives on how taking another human’s life might seem rational and justifiable on “theory” and dark humor, but the reality is different, murder cannot and should never be easily justified.
How it makes me feel?
Enthralled yet nervous; as one of Hitchcock’s (underrated) film, the thrill is alluring. However, the philosophical tease raised in the movie was disturbing.
It makes me wonder:
When disasters happened, either its man mad or nature made, I often heard and agreed to some people saying: “Well, dying is just a part of life”, or “let nature do the work.” But, who are we to decide whether a death of a man is a tragedy or just a part of a usual day? What makes one individual earn more human-rights than the others? And, what is a human right, isn’t it a just privilege?
Pay attention to:
Philosophical reference – Brandon, the deluded mastermind see himself and Philip as Nietzsche’s Superman (Brief intro to Ubermensch / WiKi) whose superiority makes them excluded from laws, rules and norms of the common others (inferiors). It is interesting to see how Ubermensch in Rope is used by the antagonist to justify the abuse of power, while in The Fountainhead; it is utilized by the protagonist Howard Roark, as a principle to live.
Homosexual subtext between Brandon and Phillip; and the continuous shot.
Brandon Shaw:“I’ve always thought that it was out of character for David to drink anything as corrupt as Whiskey.”
Phillip Morgan:“Out of character for him to be murdered, too.”
My favorite scene is when they all joke around about approving murder, watch below.