Book Review: The Intertextual Knot

The Intertextual Knot - Cover

Publisher: Springer Nature

Release Date: November 21, 2021

When we reviewed Neil Badmington’s Perpetual Movement: Alfred Hitchcock’sRope last August, it had the distinction of being the only available book devoted to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. However, last November saw the release of another book-length analysis of that same film. Both texts are instructive and offer a very different approach to examining the film, and it is quite difficult to choose a favorite between the two. While the earlier book probably includes a slightly more assessable style, both texts are easy to digest.

Dr. Dario Martinelli’s text “is a thorough analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948) and of its multiple connections with the Leopold and Loeb murder case and the adaptation of Patrick Hamilton’s eponymous play. As an all-encompassing portrait of the movie, the book discusses its aesthetics, style, role within cinema history, challenges in production, innovations introduced and of course Hitchcock’s signature features.” The rewarding pages devoted to the original murder case and the Hamilton play that it inspired is particularly worthwhile, and there are frequent comparisons between the play and Hitchcock’s film (they are actually quite different). Martinelli argues that Rope “reveals itself as an actual journey through the nightmares and the hopes that characterized the 20th century” and that the film is “nevertheless a much stronger social and political statement” than its reputation as second-tier Hitchcock might suggest.

In the end, both books make excellent companions as there isn’t as much overlap in the way of information as one might think, and both texts add enormously to the reader’s appreciation of the film.

Review by: Devon Powell

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Intertextual Knot

  1. Without “Rope,” there is no “Rear Window.” I like “Rope” a lot, but love the later picture. “Rope” is the dress rehearsal for “Rear Window.”

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