Hitchcock's famous use of long takes and a tracking camera in Rope (1948) was criticized by Truffaut and others as being a rejection of montage. Hitchcock himself considered the film 'pure cinema' - the movement of camera and performers creating new compositions and maintaining continuity. French Nouvelle Vague directors, Rohmer and Chabrol, noted the film's 'sense of continuous space'. This paper examines Rope, in reference to their analysis, and posits that the moving camera creates a moral dimension.
The film uses long takes for its entire running length, resulting in a tension between the visible (the party) and the invisible (the hidden dead body). The tracking camera inevitably presents the spaces between characters and objects, emphasizes their relationships and implies their inner thoughts.
Despite its seeming continuity, however, there are nine hidden cuts. Some of them are eyeline matches to represent the moral leader's viewpoint. Others are edited in the black space of a character's back or the upturned lid of a chest. By moving the camera in such moments to exchange two characters' positions, Hitchcock not only creates a 'sense of continuous space' but represents the 'transfer of guilt'. Thus, 'pure' cinematographic technique is used to represent morality.