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Hitchcok's " Rope "


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#1 jaragon

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:30 PM

I do regret some of my phrasing. It had been while since I had seen Rope, so I re-watched it just now.

 

Considering its reputation, the only real "sexual" anything (O.K... we won't use the word "fluid") lies in Brandon's talk of the "thrill" of murder and the loose connection to a famous crime involving lovers. Otherwise it doesn't exactly deserved so much focus in the history books as, say, Strangers On The Train which is a bit more straight-forward. It is like all of the hoopty-doo about Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca even though she only gets excited over ladies lingerie.

 

What strikes me on the most recent viewing is how much it resembles Crossfire, Gentleman's Agreement and the Nuremberg Trials. By 1948, President Truman was desegregating the military as yet another attack on America's prejudices of yesteryear, post WW2 atrocities. A lot of movies of this era were questioning mankind's love of "master races". I won't go further in how it also could bring up political discussions for today (i.e. all of the "Alt White" business), but... yeah... movies of this era can offer much to learn for today. Stewart's Rupert was quite snobbish in his youth discussing "superior beings" but he has evolved over time and understands that his way of thinking should not be society's way of thinking. He is shocked to realize that his "students" would take it to the next level. Victim David is viewed as inferior although we are not explained why. Was he Jewish?

 

For the most part, John Dall's Brandon is the cold-blooded one who treats murder as just a joke and enjoys having a cocktail party over it. Granger's Philip is less comfortable with murder since he is the sensitive one. Intriguingly his astrological sign is brought up by Mrs. Atwater (Constance Collier) as a "moon child", a very emotional Cancer... and too emotional to treat murder as just a joke. Even the chicken strangle story upsets him.  We, of course, don't know Brandon's sign, but it is implied that he lacks "water" (feeling). Likewise, there is much drinking but we never really see Brandon drinking. He just serves liquids to those who are "too sensitive". Likewise, Rupert is also analytical and "cool", but after discovering what happened and shooting a gun out the window to alert the neighbors, he starts to break down on the couch, feeling considerable emotion he hadn't felt in the past.

Nothing wrong with your phrasing....censorship has probably has a lot to do with the cutting down of the homosexual elements of the story


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#2 Jlewis

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:22 PM

Hitchcock might have been fascinated by homosexuality.  I really don't see Stweart's Rupert as "sexually fluid" ( a 21st century term I really find annoying ) Yes the film ending is dark- there are no real winners- the killers will go to prison and I imagine Rupert might even be drawn into the scandal.

 

I do regret some of my phrasing. It had been while since I had seen Rope, so I re-watched it just now.

 

Considering its reputation, the only real "sexual" anything (O.K... we won't use the word "fluid") lies in Brandon's talk of the "thrill" of murder and the loose connection to a famous crime involving lovers. Otherwise it doesn't exactly deserve so much focus in the history books as, say, Strangers On The Train which is a bit more straight-forward. It is like all of the hoopty-doo about Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca even though she only gets excited over ladies lingerie.

 

What strikes me on the most recent viewing is how much it resembles Crossfire, Gentleman's Agreement and the Nuremberg Trials. By 1948, President Truman was desegregating the military as yet another attack on America's prejudices of yesteryear, post WW2 atrocities. A lot of movies of this era were questioning mankind's love of "master races". I won't go further in how it also could bring up political discussions for today (i.e. all of the "Alt White" business), but... yeah... movies of this era can offer much to learn for today. Stewart's Rupert was quite snobbish in his youth discussing "superior beings" but he has evolved over time and understands that his way of thinking should not be society's way of thinking. He is shocked to realize that his "students" would take it to the next level. Victim David is viewed as inferior although we are not explained why. Was he Jewish?

 

For the most part, John Dall's Brandon is the cold-blooded one who treats murder as just a joke and enjoys having a cocktail party over it. Granger's Philip is less comfortable with murder since he is the sensitive one. Intriguingly his astrological sign is brought up by Mrs. Atwater (Constance Collier) as a "moon child", a very emotional Cancer... and too emotional to treat murder as just a joke. Even the chicken strangle story upsets him.  We, of course, don't know Brandon's sign, but it is implied that he lacks "water" (feeling). Likewise, there is much drinking but we never really see Brandon drinking. He just serves liquids to those who are "too sensitive". Likewise, Rupert is also analytical and "cool", but after discovering what happened and shooting a gun out the window to alert the neighbors, he starts to break down on the couch, feeling considerable emotion he hadn't felt in the past.


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#3 jaragon

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:24 PM

If "Rope" could have been more explicit than implicit, it would have been a much more interesting film.

 

Of course, the play itself is much more explicit.

 

In the film, to me anyway, James Stewart's character (Rupert Cadell) is much more "attached" to Philip and Brandon - and this "attachment" motivates his alarm over what they have actually done.

 

The film doesn't end on a note of "triumph", but on a note of "despair".

 

Perhaps it isn't what Philip and Brandon have done, but what Rupert has done to them.

 

The Guy/Bruno relationship in "Strangers On A Train" is far more "explicit" in the British film version.

 

In the book by Patricia Highsmith, Guy finally kills Bruno - perhaps finally "killing" a vital part of himself.

 

If Guy is "pretending", he can go on "pretending".

 

But, in the film, Bruno's love for Guy is real - and Guy is genuinely startled by it.

" Strangers on a Train" is a very dark bromance- both men are guilty of  planning a murder only Bruno has the guts to actually carry it out.  


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#4 jaragon

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

Rayban mentioned this earlier. Although Jimmy Stewart wasn't all that aware of it (or merely pretended to be), there were a few nuances here and there suggesting his character had intimate moments with both guys in the past as an older "mentor". This is why he is so emotionally involved with them and particularly upset when he learns things.

 

Even though it is all subtle and only those of us who waste a lot of time psychoanalyzing movie characters can pick up on it, there is a suggestion director Hitch makes that sexual orientation isn't an issue and he views everybody somewhat sexually "fluid". Relationships are just relationships to him. However, if you do have an intimate relationship with somebody regardless of their gender, you have the potential to be blinded by your emotions and not see them for who they really are. This was also a common theme in many heterosexual film noirs and gangster films from Double Indemnity through Prizzi's Honor where the man slowly realizes the woman he loves is not who she seems.

 

Personally I always felt that the later Hitch/Farley Granger film Strangers On The Train was much more explicit in its homoerotic nuances. Even if "Guy" (note the name used) is happy with his new wife-to-be and unhappy with his suddenly murdered ex-wife, Robert Walker's Bruno really, really likes him. Also there is something that is... off... about Guy's two women. The one he wants is very motherly and her family (dad and sister) is protective of him, but it all seems rather Platonic and nonsexual. Note the separate apartment and only hanging out with Ruth Roman's Anne in public situations. Hhhmmmm... marriage of convenience, perhaps? The ex who gets murdered (brilliantly played by Kasey Rogers in a performance that should have gotten supporting role Oscar attention) is carrying the child of another man and having flings with multiple guys at the carnival because her needs were not being satisfied previously by Guy. One wonders exactly what "type" of woman Guy really wanted. Maybe Bruno was his "type"? I also love Pat Hitchcock as the sister saying "imagine a man who loves you so much that he will kill for you". Is that line for her sister or for Guy?

Hitchcock might have been fascinated by homosexuality.  I really don't see Stweart's Rupert as "sexually fluid" ( a 21st century term I really find annoying ) Yes the film ending is dark- there are no real winners- the killers will go to prison and I imagine Rupert might even be drawn into the scandal.



#5 rayban

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:02 AM

Rayban mentioned this earlier. Although Jimmy Stewart wasn't all that aware of it (or merely pretended to be), there were a few nuances here and there suggesting his character had intimate moments with both guys in the past as an older "mentor". This is why he is so emotionally involved with them and particularly upset when he learns things.

 

Even though it is all subtle and only those of us who waste a lot of time psychoanalyzing movie characters can pick up on it, there is a suggestion director Hitch makes that sexual orientation isn't an issue and he views everybody somewhat sexually "fluid". Relationships are just relationships to him. However, if you do have an intimate relationship with somebody regardless of their gender, you have the potential to be blinded by your emotions and not see them for who they really are. This was also a common theme in many heterosexual film noirs and gangster films from Double Indemnity through Prizzi's Honor where the man slowly realizes the woman he loves is not who she seems.

 

Personally I always felt that the later Hitch/Farley Granger film Strangers On The Train was much more explicit in its homoerotic nuances. Even if "Guy" (note the name used) is happy with his new wife-to-be and unhappy with his suddenly murdered ex-wife, Robert Walker's Bruno really, really likes him. Also there is something that is... off... about Guy's two women. The one he wants is very motherly and her family (dad and sister) is protective of him, but it all seems rather Platonic and nonsexual. Note the separate apartment and only hanging out with Ruth Roman's Anne in public situations. Hhhmmmm... marriage of convenience, perhaps? The ex who gets murdered (brilliantly played by Kasey Rogers in a performance that should have gotten supporting role Oscar attention) is carrying the child of another man and having flings with multiple guys at the carnival because her needs were not being satisfied previously by Guy. One wonders exactly what "type" of woman Guy really wanted. Maybe Bruno was his "type"? I also love Pat Hitchcock as the sister saying "imagine a man who loves you so much that he will kill for you". Is that line for her sister or for Guy?

If "Rope" could have been more explicit than implicit, it would have been a much more interesting film.

 

Of course, the play itself is much more explicit.

 

In the film, to me anyway, James Stewart's character (Rupert Cadell) is much more "attached" to Philip and Brandon - and this "attachment" motivates his alarm over what they have actually done.

 

The film doesn't end on a note of "triumph", but on a note of "despair".

 

Perhaps it isn't what Philip and Brandon have done, but what Rupert has done to them.

 

The Guy/Bruno relationship in "Strangers On A Train" is far more "explicit" in the British film version.

 

In the book by Patricia Highsmith, Guy finally kills Bruno - perhaps finally "killing" a vital part of himself.

 

If Guy is "pretending", he can go on "pretending".

 

But, in the film, Bruno's love for Guy is real - and Guy is genuinely startled by it.


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#6 Jlewis

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 07:02 AM

Rayban mentioned this earlier. Although Jimmy Stewart wasn't all that aware of it (or merely pretended to be), there were a few nuances here and there suggesting his character had intimate moments with both guys in the past as an older "mentor". This is why he is so emotionally involved with them and particularly upset when he learns things.

 

Even though it is all subtle and only those of us who waste a lot of time psychoanalyzing movie characters can pick up on it, there is a suggestion director Hitch makes that sexual orientation isn't an issue and he views everybody somewhat sexually "fluid". Relationships are just relationships to him. However, if you do have an intimate relationship with somebody regardless of their gender, you have the potential to be blinded by your emotions and not see them for who they really are. This was also a common theme in many heterosexual film noirs and gangster films from Double Indemnity through Prizzi's Honor where the man slowly realizes the woman he loves is not who she seems.

 

Personally I always felt that the later Hitch/Farley Granger film Strangers On The Train was much more explicit in its homoerotic nuances. Even if "Guy" (note the name used) is happy with his new wife-to-be and unhappy with his suddenly murdered ex-wife, Robert Walker's Bruno really, really likes him. Also there is something that is... off... about Guy's two women. The one he wants is very motherly and her family (dad and sister) is protective of him, but it all seems rather Platonic and nonsexual. Note the separate apartment and only hanging out with Ruth Roman's Anne in public situations. Hhhmmmm... marriage of convenience, perhaps? The ex who gets murdered (brilliantly played by Kasey Rogers in a performance that should have gotten supporting role Oscar attention) is carrying the child of another man and having flings with multiple guys at the carnival because her needs were not being satisfied previously by Guy. One wonders exactly what "type" of woman Guy really wanted. Maybe Bruno was his "type"? I also love Pat Hitchcock as the sister saying "imagine a man who loves you so much that he will kill for you". Is that line for her sister or for Guy?


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#7 jaragon

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 05:26 PM

You do have to wonder in what way Philip and Brandon's homosexuality plays into their decision to murder David Kentley.

 

And, in what way Rupert's homosexuality plays into his decision to expose them as murderers.

 

Yes, Philip and Brandon think that they are superior human beings and can even get away with murder - but is that feeling based on their homosexuality and David's heteorsexuality?

 

And, yes, Rupert might be feeling guilty about his homosexuality and the sort of thinking that it might have inspired.

 

One homosexual feels badly - feels guilty - about what he's done to two younger homosexuals.

The homosexuality of the killers might have something to do with their choice of victim- we actually never meet David Kently ( except in the trailer). I always wanted to see the scene that leads up to the murder- was there some sexual tension between the gay couple and their straight victim.  In the trailer Kentley is obviously interested in the girl - but Hitchcock for some reason cuts this from the actual film.   Rupert probably does feel some guilt over the murder which he indirectly caused.


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#8 TopBilled

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 01:28 PM

You do have to wonder in what way Philip and Brandon's homosexuality plays into their decision to murder David Kentley.

 

And, in what way Rupert's homosexuality plays into his decision to expose them as murderers.

 

Yes, Philip and Brandon think that they are superior human beings and can even get away with murder - but is that feeling based on their homosexuality and David's heteorsexuality?

 

And, yes, Rupert might be feeling guilty about his homosexuality and the sort of thinking that it might have inspired.

 

One homosexual feels badly - feels guilty - about what he's done to two younger homosexuals.

 

Interesting thoughts/questions. I'm not sure if their sexuality plays into the murders, though Hitch might have thought it did. It almost seems like two separate issues. 

 

A similar story (also from real life) is IN COLD BLOOD. Truman Capote seems to have felt there was a homoerotic element as the basis of those killings, but it's tricky and hard to prove.


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#9 rayban

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:54 AM

You do have to wonder in what way Philip and Brandon's homosexuality plays into their decision to murder David Kentley.

 

And, in what way Rupert's homosexuality plays into his decision to expose them as murderers.

 

Yes, Philip and Brandon think that they are superior human beings and can even get away with murder - but is that feeling based on their homosexuality and David's heteorsexuality?

 

And, yes, Rupert might be feeling guilty about his homosexuality and the sort of thinking that it might have inspired.

 

One homosexual feels badly - feels guilty - about what he's done to two younger homosexuals.


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#10 rayban

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:34 AM

The thrills of ROPE always seemed to me---the DECOR!

 

How skillful you must be as a set designer to imagine a set that would look perfect 100 years on.

(real people living in it, obviously a fine New York apartment)

I just love it.

 

But the REAL thrill of ROPE study can be found in a new book:

 

D.A. Miller, HIDDEN HITCHCOCK, 2016.

 

Miller analyzes Hitchcock's "mistakes" in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, ROPE, and THE WRONG MAN.

But---hey, Hitch doesn't make mistakes.

He makes a ton of them, if you know where to look, and they all mean SOMETHING important.

Because Hitch doesn't make mistakes.

 

For the ROPE chapter, Miller analyzes some features hard-boiled ROPE fans get wild over->

 

1- that crooked candle that never seems to get adjusted

 

2- the "changing" desserts from one cut to the next

 

3- strange marks on the carpeting

 

Enjoy!

Or the fact that nobody really eats that much of the buffet dinner - or that all the guests leave the get-together off-screen.


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#11 papyrusbeetle

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:15 AM

The thrills of ROPE always seemed to me---the DECOR!

 

How skillful you must be as a set designer to imagine a set that would look perfect 100 years on.

(real people living in it, obviously a fine New York apartment)

I just love it.

 

But the REAL thrill of ROPE study can be found in a new book:

 

D.A. Miller, HIDDEN HITCHCOCK, 2016.

 

Miller analyzes Hitchcock's "mistakes" in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, ROPE, and THE WRONG MAN.

But---hey, Hitch doesn't make mistakes.

He makes a ton of them, if you know where to look, and they all mean SOMETHING important.

Because Hitch doesn't make mistakes.

 

For the ROPE chapter, Miller analyzes some features hard-boiled ROPE fans get wild over->

 

1- that crooked candle that never seems to get adjusted

 

2- the "changing" desserts from one cut to the next

 

3- strange marks on the carpeting

 

Enjoy!


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#12 DougieB

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:22 AM

Hitchcock liked to explore sexuality in films such as ROPE, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and others, as much as censors would allow.  No judgement, no preaching, just part of humanity.  I watched SUSPICION the other night and there's a scene at a dinner party at the mystery writer's house and one of the guests is a blonde lady with very short hair wearing a man's suit and tie.  No deal is made out it, which is nice, and I thought maybe she was the mystery writer's girlfriend because, at one point, she gets up and pours a drink for the hostess as everyone is discussing ways to poison someone that can't be traced.  The bird "expert" in THE BIRDS wears a man's suit and tie, too.

 

He could use sexuality for humor too. The newlywed couple in Rear Window ​are mostly unseen but it's pretty clear they're holed up in their bedroom non-stop. Any time the poor guy tries to take a breather at the window, she calls him back with that plaintive wail. It's surprisingly explicit without being really explicit at all. It's a clever way to "go there" in a family film. The train-in-the-tunnel ending of ​North By Northwest ​is actually laugh out loud funny, since even casual moviegoers would recognize the significance of such a well-used cliché coming on the heels of the two stars climbing into bed. In Rope​ there's a lot of giddy wink-wink between the two men as they savor the irony of being so charming to their guests after having murdered a previous guest, but it's a creepy humor that makes the movie audience feel complicit, which seems to have been Hitchcock's whole approach to the film.


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#13 ChristineHoard

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 07:21 PM

Hitchcock liked to explore sexuality in films such as ROPE, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and others, as much as censors would allow.  No judgement, no preaching, just part of humanity.  I watched SUSPICION the other night and there's a scene at a dinner party at the mystery writer's house and one of the guests is a blonde lady with very short hair wearing a man's suit and tie.  No deal is made out it, which is nice, and I thought maybe she was the mystery writer's girlfriend because, at one point, she gets up and pours a drink for the hostess as everyone is discussing ways to poison someone that can't be traced.  The bird "expert" in THE BIRDS wears a man's suit and tie, too.


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#14 rayban

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:53 AM

In addition to being a suspenseful mystery, Rope is a Noel Cowardesque portrait of Upper East Side elegance.  The men wear sharp suits.  Joan Chandler, as the sophisticated Janet, has some of the film’s wittiest lines.  The apartment, more like a penthouse, in which the film takes place has a scenic view of New York’s skyline, which changes color according to the passing time: morning, afternoon, twilight, and evening.  Throw in a discussion of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and you have one of Hitchcock’s most heady and stylish thrillers.  

I would love to see a production of the original play.


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#15 cinemaspeak59

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:23 AM

In addition to being a suspenseful mystery, Rope is a Noel Cowardesque portrait of Upper East Side elegance.  The men wear sharp suits.  Joan Chandler, as the sophisticated Janet, has some of the film’s wittiest lines.  The apartment, more like a penthouse, in which the film takes place has a scenic view of New York’s skyline, which changes color according to the passing time: morning, afternoon, twilight, and evening.  Throw in a discussion of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and you have one of Hitchcock’s most heady and stylish thrillers.  


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#16 jaragon

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 07:33 PM

I don't know if audiences got it on it's original release but now it's obvious the killers are a demented gay couple. One can even imagine  Bradon using that rope to tie up Philip during sex.

Hitchcock was smart about keeping the story in the apartment; it increases the suspense and sense of claustrophobia.  http://r.search.yaho...K2Do_4d.FzXCOg-

the modern case that made me think about "Rope"


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#17 TopBilled

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 08:59 AM

Jarrod -

 

For a no-holds-barred look at the case, please read "For The Thrill Of It": Leopold, Loeb and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago by Simon Baatz. 

 

And, yes, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were lovers.

 

Thanks. Speaking of true crime, another one worth reading is Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.'


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#18 rayban

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 08:49 AM

ROPE (like COMPULSION) is based on the Leopold & Loeb case. Those guys were said to have had a homosexual relationship.

 

screen.jpg

Jarrod -

 

For a no-holds-barred look at the case, please read "For The Thrill Of It": Leopold, Loeb and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago by Simon Baatz. 

 

And, yes, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were lovers.


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#19 TopBilled

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 08:19 AM

A recent true crime event made me think and re-watch  Hitchcock's classic thriller about gay murderers. 

 

ROPE (like COMPULSION) is based on the Leopold & Loeb case. Those guys were said to have had a homosexual relationship.

 

screen.jpg


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#20 rayban

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 07:55 AM

A recent true crime event made me think and re-watch  Hitchcock's classic thriller about gay murderers. 

I really like the play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton.

 

It is far more open about its' subject matter than the famous Hitchcock film.

 

And, of course, the teacher (whom Jimmy Stewart plays in the movie) is gay in the play.


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