This week’s Moviedrome Monday entry consists of two very different experimental films
I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to iconic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock’s (a.k.a. The Master of Suspense) visually clever 1948 mystery thriller Rope. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here). The episode’s original airdate was August 7, 1994 (read here). Since I am a huge fan of every single film directed by Hitchcock, I will just talk about the film. Once again, Cox’s commentary on the film is as eloquent as always. As a pure technical exercise, Rope succeeds without a scratch – from start to finish, Hitchcock filmed the action in one continuous shot (a.k.a. a long take). If any of you readers are interested, here is a link to my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films (read here).
Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Rope
Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer
84 Charlie MoPic (1989)
I have posted a youtube video link below to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to director Patrick Sheane Duncan’s 1989 independent Vietnam film 84 Charlie MoPic. Readers can also read Cox’s intro transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was August 8, 1994 (read here). Not much to add here except that I am in complete agreement with Cox on this one. Flaws and all, the Found footage technique employed throughout does make for fascinating viewing.
Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to 84 Charlie MoPic
Though there is a fan-made trailer for this film on youtube, I could not find a link to it’s actual original theatrical trailer.
11 thoughts on “Moviedrome Mondays: Rope (1948) and 84 Charlie MoPic (1989)”
I’m a fan of Hitchcock as well and of this film in particular, which, I understand, is unusual for Hitchcock fans. A lot fans regard Rope as a minor work. I think it is very well done and I don’t find it’s “real time”,” long take” filming gimmicky. To me it runs smooth as silk and I appreciate Hitchcock’ homage to the one act play. Also, the homosexual undertones where subversive and controversial in the late 40s, especially, with wholesome Jimmy Stewart starring. Nevermind that the bad guys were the gay guys; just the fact that they were gay characters in a major motion picture was a big deal.
Despite its rather theatrical feel, ‘Rope’ works so well, and for me it is one of Hitchciock’s better films. I did the see the Vietnam War film at the time, but confess it has faded from memory.
Best wishes, Pete.
Pam makes an interesting point about Rope, which I’ve never seen. Who would have thought to make two gay guys important characters back then? I haven’t seen either of these, tho. Will have to read up on them……
For 1948, it sure was totally unexpected 🙂 And yes, please do check out Rope 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
I love Rope, but then again, you already knew that I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan 🙂 As for 84 Charlie MoPic, it is worth watching 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
Yeah I too can never understand Pam why Rope is considered a minor film in the Hitchcock canon sometimes. Not only that, but I actually rank his follow-up film to Rope entitled Under Capricorn within my top 5 of my favorite Hitchcock films. As with Rope, Under Capricorn was also filmed in one continuous long take. Having James Stewart in a supporting role in a dark film feels like a dress rehearsal for his much darker and grittier films from the 1950’s and beyond. Aside from working with Hitchcock again for Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Vertigo, he was also the lead in five psychological westerns for director Anthony Mann during that previously mentioned decade. I too was intrigued by the fact that the two lead actors of Rope were playing gay characters – quite unexpected for that time indeed. Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂
I’ve never seen Under Capricorn, John. I need to check that out. Yes, filmgoers often forget the very nature of Rear Window. Yes, James Stewart was the hero; yes, he solved the murder, but he was also a voyeur–a window peeper. He was even more damaged in Vertigo, but he is always thought of as a wholesome character. That’s the way I think of him, too.
Rope is a good film. It’s an interesting film due to it’s experiment of creating the illusion that the film is one continuous shot. It totally succeeded in it’s experiment . The one shot gimmick is very effective and well done. Kudos to Hitch for that. I did spot about two cuts in the film though so it isn’t quite one continuous shot. The technical aspect of the film is very well done. Although a film that looks like it’s one continuous shot would most likely only work if it was about 80 minutes and set in one location as Rope is. The set of the apartment is very nice and it’s an effective setting for the film. Rope also succeeded in having a film set entirely in one room. Hitch’s direction is top notch.
Rope is a good and solid film. It has a good and well written script with good dialogue. This is to be expected as it’s based on play. There is a lot of Hitch suspense, mainly down to will the box be opened at some point. The characters are interesting and well developed and the performances of Farley Granger, John Fall and James Stewart are great.
Despite these positives I can give the film, it doesn’t really escape it’s theatrical origins and really does come across as a filmed play in a way that other movies based on plays didn’t such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Talk Radio. Still, as it is Rope is a good, interesting and well made film.
Alex’s intro to it is great and very enlightening.
Rope isn’t the only film inspired by the Leopold and Loeb case. There was also Compulsion from 1959 directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Orson Welles and Dean Stockwell.
I can’t be as positive about the second film in this double bill. I actually hated 84 Charlie Mopic as I hate the found footage genre. I don’t think 84 Charlie Mopic works at all and I don’t think it succeeds in it’s experiment as not once did I believe that this was actual footage from the Vietnam war. That’s why I think the film doesn’t work as it wants you think this is real but it clearly isn’t. It’s also riddled with military errors and mistakes. Soldiers on patrol in the jungle wouldn’t be talking constantly, giving on camera interviews and playing music. They have to be silent as much as possible. The opening also shows the troops marching and chanting. That ends at boot camp. There are a lot of other errors in the film which I can’t think of right now. I think the acting is poor too. Overall I think 84 Charlie Mopic is a bad film which I don’t like. Alex’s intro to it is excellent though.
I did notice those two cheats as well Steve, but for the most part it was filmed in one continuous shot. Given it’s single-setting, one could make a case that it serves as a technical experiment, it serves as a warmup for Rear Window 6 years later in 1954 🙂
I also agree that all of the performances are great 🙂 Nevertheless, I think Hitchcock was trying to involve the audience in a way that employed a cinematic technique (a continuous take) with a single setting (theatrical technique). In other words, to involve the audience on both a cinematic and technical level. I do recall that Hitchcock labeled the film “a failed experiment”, but I actually love the film.
I too am also aware that Richard Fleischer’s Compulsion (1959) is another film based on the Leopold and Loeb case. That one was very good.
While I do disagree with you on 84 Charlie MoPic, you are not wrong about the film’s problems. Notice that I did mention the words “flaws and all” when I described it in the paragraph for it. I think all of the problems you mention with it is what makes it so fascinating. Nevertheless, I do agree with you that they are still considered flaws. 84 Charlie MoPic will never go down as a masterpiece for those very reasons you just so eloquently stated, but for myself, it is still an entertaining , but minor experiment. 🙂
Charlie MoPic sounds like an interesting failure. After reading Steve’s insightful comments I’m not sure if I’ll watch it, but I am intrigued.
Charlie MoPic is worth a watch Paul, but I do agree with Steve that it is certainly no classic – it’s flaws are too obvious 🙂 Anyway, thanks for dropping by 🙂