One of Hitchcock's more experimental films, with the tale of two young gays, keen to prove their intellectual and spiritual superiority, killing a friend and hiding his body in a trunk in order to see whether dinner guests will suspect anything. Constructed entirely from uncut ten-minute takes, shot on a beautifully-constructed set, it's certainly a virtuoso piece of technique, but the lack of cutting inevitably slows things down, entailing the camera swooping from one character to another during dialogues. On a thematic level, however, the film is more successful: while the arguments about Nietzschean philosophy between the couple and their professor, Stewart (whose ideas have inadvertently prompted the murder), are hardly profound, what is interesting is the way Hitchcock's sly amorality forces us, through the suspense, to side with the killers. Add to that the black wit and strong performances from Dall, Granger and Stewart, and you have a perverse, provocative entertainment.
Tue Aug 24, 1948
Cast and crew
Leo F Forbstein
Douglas Dick, James Stewart, Farley Granger, Cedric Hardwicke, Joan Chandler, Constance Collier, John Dall
Sidney Bernstein, Alfred Hitchcock
William V Skall, Joseph Valentine
Hume Cronyn, Arthur Laurents