Alfred Hitchcock: Hiding the Cuts in Rope
ROPE (1948) is Alfred Hitchcock’s murder/suspense film that showcases the killing in its second shot. ROPE is often described as having no editing…a film that plays out in real-time…but it had to hide the cuts due to the 10-minute film reel limits of the day. On further examination…Hitchcock’s gem actually contains 10 edits. Five of them are hidden as the camera lens is filled by foreground objects. The other five edits are regular hard cuts that not many people either realize or acknowledge. I’ve isolated all 10 edits in the video below so you can learn from the Master of Suspense on how to hide your edits without losing momentum in your story.
I always knew that some of the cuts were hidden by camera wipes…but never realized there were 5 hard cuts hiding in plain view! It’s also interesting to note that the 10 edits switch between hard cut and dissolve in an alternating pattern. Was this done to maintain a subconscious rhythm to the editing? Was it accidental? I would find it hard to believe that Hitchcock left anything to chance…
BONUS: Not many people caught the Hitchcock cameo in ROPE. Here is the secret revealed…a neon sign of his silhouette in the background.
An amazing analysis of the film can be found here courtesy of Peter J. Dellolio.
If this film was edited digitally today…it would look like this:
Do you know of any other films that hide their edits or create interesting tricks to keep the story moving forward? Please share them in the comments below!
Until next time…