Genre: Crime Drama Thriller
Starring: James Stewart (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; The Naked Spur), Farley Granger (Strangers On A Train)
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Shadow Of A Doubt; Topaz)
Overview: Applying their professor's theory, two classmates decide to murder their inferior and keep him in the apartment during a dinner party.
Acting: I was impressed with James Stewart. Seems to me that this is the kind of role he's best suited for. I always find it weird when I see him in Westerns. I'm always waiting for him to say, "Every time you hear a death-rattle, a devil gets his pitchfork." Point being, Stewart plays a fantastic everyman. Everyone in this is perfectly chosen for their roles, and the direction is superb.
Cinematography: 9 takes, 80 minutes. This is what's most interesting about this film. The reason that there were so MANY takes is because film reels could only hold about 10 minutes of film. Had they attempted more seamless takes, I would have been more impressed, but Rope has Russian Arc beat to death in my books. This is also Alfred Hitchcock's first colour film, and apparently whole takes were redone because he didn't like the colour of the sunset in the background. that, my friend, is dedication.
Script: The reference to Notorious is quite entertaining. Three people are chatting, talking about Cary Grant's last film, called "Something. You know with Ingrid Bergman?" I thought only Shakespeare could pull off plugging his other plays mid-story. In a way, this illustrates the essence of this film. Dialogue stays witty, poignant and conversational with a huge fat slab of holy-than-thou arrogance and a dash of hints and mystery. Of course you need that when your story's about people killing just to prove they can pull it off.
Plot: Witty. This is the story of a couple of guys who kill their classmate and put him in a trunk. The next few hours has these guys throwing a dinner party, with that very chest as centerpiece. The only regret I have is that I wish I hadn't seen Six Feet Under. You see, that show taught me early on what happens to a body after death, and I don't think a bunch of dinner guests would let slide a farting, leaking steamer trunk for hours upon hours... Baring that acceptable suspension of disbelief, a nice thrill-ride with a dramatic finish.
Mood: Perfectionism is nice, especially with such stories as the time a dolly ran over and crushed the foot of a crewman. Since the takes were so long, they wanted to make sure that they did it right the first time. The poor broken-footed man was gagged and dragged off, while the cameras kept rolling, and yes, they used that shot in final edit. With the drive of such talent to make sure it's done right, you won't be surprised to find how good a film this is. That real-time feel adds a nice element of immediacy.