Rope (1948)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Rope, two Manhattan socialites, Philip Morgan and Brandon Shaw, kill a friend for no reason other than to prove they can get away with murder. They put their dead victim, David Kentley, in a chest in the living room where they are having a party later that evening. The guests include David’s father and a former teacher named Rupert Cadell. As the evening progresses, Brandon, the bolder one of the two, continually pushes his luck with the situation. Philip, on the other hand, increasingly regrets their actions. Combine this remorse with too much alcohol, and the young man begins to act erratically. This piques Cadell’s imagination as to what exactly the boys have done.

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‘Rope’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Rope (1948)Rope opens with a man’s scream. We then witness the last breath of David Kentley. He has been strangled by two of his “friends”, roommates Brandon Shaw (John Dall) and Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger). These well-to-do young thrill seekers have killed David for no apparent reason other then their belief in their own intellectual superiority. David was inferior to them and they thought they were too clever to get caught.

They even have the arrogance to throw a dinner party inviting the victim, David (Dick Hogan), David’s Father (Cedric Hardwicke) who brings David’s Aunt. Also in attendance were David’s girlfriend, Janet Walker (Joan Chandler); Kenneth Lawrence, Janet’s former boyfriend and David’s once best friend (Douglas Dick).

To make things a little more interesting, they also invite their former teacher, Rupert Cadell (James Stewart). Rupert is the only one at the party that they consider close to being as clever as they are.

Our sociopaths have dinner served upon the very unlocked trunk where David’s body is stashed. Brandon is calm and seems to delight in throwing verbal clues about what they have done, such as insinuating to Kenneth that he now has a better chance with Janet. In the middle of the macabre party, the trunk is almost opened by their housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson.

Phillip, however, is a nervous wreck. As the dinner party wears on, he appears more and more likely to crack. The killers raise the suspicion of Janet and Rupert. Janet even accuses the pair of kidnapping David so that he would miss the gathering. The party comes to an early close when David’s Father learns that David’s Mother is hysterical as no one can account for him.

Rupert is suspicious enough to return to the apartment after the other guests have gone. He confronts the two and is appalled to open the trunk and find the body of David. He suspected it, but he could hardly believe it until he saw the victim for himself. After a brief struggle and learning that Brandon had twisted his words to justify murder, Rupert shoots a gun to alert the authorities. He has informed his former students that society will deal with them.

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Warner Bros. released Rope to theaters on September 25, 1948. Alfred Hitchcock directed the film starring James Stewart, John Dall, and Farley Granger.

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