Because it is weird as hell. And also amazing.
Well, it was an Alfred Hitchcock movie, so I guess the weirdness is to be expected. Released in 1948, it’s about two men who decide that they’re intellectually superior human beings, so they strangle a friend of theirs, put him in a trunk in their apartment, and proceed to have a dinner party with the food served from the top of the very trunk containing their buddy’s dead body.
Good times, huh?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that I like this movie, because it is said Hitch got the idea from the famous Leopold and Loeb murder back in 1923 from which the book “For the Thrill of It” was written.* Yes, I happened to love that book. Loved the movie “Compulsion” too, and it was based on the same murder. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two college students from Chicago who killed a 14-year old kid just because they thought they were superior intellects and could get away with it. They believed they could commit the “perfect murder” if you will, but hey, who hasn’t?
*As I was doing research for thes article, I found there was actually a play called “Rope” that was performed in 1929.
The film is notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot through the use of long takes. Trust me, watch it and that will all make sense.
It stars Jimmy Stewart, Farley Granger and others, and it is dark and twisted. Here’s the plot as described in AllMovie.com:
Two brilliant young aesthetes, Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan, strangle to death their former classmate from Harvard University, David Kentley, in their apartment. They commit the crime as an intellectual exercise; they want to prove their superiority by committing the “perfect murder”.
After hiding the body in a large antique wooden chest, Brandon and Phillip host a dinner party at the apartment, which has a panoramic view of Manhattan’s skyline. The guests, who are unaware of what has happened, include the victim’s father Mr. Kentley and aunt Mrs. Atwater; his mother is not able to attend due to a cold. Also there are his fiancée, Janet Walker and her former lover Kenneth Lawrence, who was once David’s close friend.
Brandon uses the chest containing the body as a buffet table for the food, just before their housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson arrives to help with the party. “Now the fun begins,” Brandon says when the first guests arrive . . .
You’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens next, but trust me when I say it’s intense, gripping, and heart-stopping.
Man, this movie is right up my alley and I can’t believe it’s been out for 69-years and I’ve just discovered it.
Better late than never I guess? Anyway, watch this movie. For a taste, here’s the original trailer: