January 10, 2011

"We've always said, you and I, that moral concepts of good and evil and right and wrong don't hold for the intellectually superior."

The teacher is confronted with the acting out of his philosophy in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope":

36 comments:

HDHouse said...

yes.

but of course the next zillion comments will be from the right wing about the annointed one or the NYTimes or libtards and they will play the victim role to perfection...

but you knew that didn't you. you knew it going in.

sometimes i suspect your favorite childhood science project was an ant farm with dozens of tweezers at the ready.

prairie wind said...

I like that scene but when Jimmy Stewart turns his back to open the window, I always think, "No! Jimmy, no! Don't you remember that the bad guy pushed you out in Rear Window?"

This is a good scene to watch today, with all the chatter about stupid Palin.

prairie wind said...

Maybe the NEXT zillion, HD.

wv: slymeres...the world is full of 'em

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Awesome movie. No special effects. Lack of deafening sound effects. All acted in one stage setting just like the live play Fabulous acting. Appears to have been done in one long take.

They don't make them like this anymore.

In the theme of the day. Are you labeled insane if you commit a crime where you are convinced of your own rightness or the correctness of your own world view and your superiority over the rest? They knew the difference between right and wrong, but they felt it didn't apply to them because of their superior status.

Does this apply to the Arizona shooter? Sane or crazy? Evil or deluded. Innocent by reason of insanity or sanely culpable.

Ann Althouse said...

"I like that scene but when Jimmy Stewart turns his back to open the window, I always think, "No! Jimmy, no! Don't you remember that the bad guy pushed you out in Rear Window?""

LOL. I love the idea of calling the police by shooting your gun out the window a few times. I always worry some kid on the street will get hit by a falling bullet.

HT said...

You know my answer.

Roger J. said...

Seems to me this topic has been discussed by philosophers and novelists (Nietzche and Dostoyevski eg) for a fairly long time--of course it is easier to watch movies than read the books.

Ann Althouse said...

"Appears to have been done in one long take."

There are actually 2 or 3 cuts, but it's done to give the impression of a single take.

Ann Althouse said...

"Seems to me this topic has been discussed by philosophers and novelists (Nietzche and Dostoyevski eg) for a fairly long time--of course it is easier to watch movies than read the books."

Jimmy is the teacher of such topics, and the other characters are his students. They act out his philosophy, and he's surprised to have been taken so seriously.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Different world…NOWADAYS, we’d have pushed Jimmy out the window and blamed the murder on HIM…plus in most cities today, firing a pistol is really too likely to attract the poh-leece is it? And I worried about “Mr. Intellectually Superior” firing a pistol out the window in NYC, and not killing a few bystanders.

Roger J. said...

The Leopold-Loeb murder case is is the modern incarnation.

Roger J. said...

Professor: exactly--the movie just riffs on the classic theme.

Palladian said...

The intentional, unspoken subtext of "Rope" is that John Dall, Farley Granger and Jimmy Stewart's characters are all homosexuals.

The murderers (Dall and Granger's characters) misinterpreted Stewart's character's years-earlier metaphorical conversation, which was probably intended as a veiled suggestion for the young men to disregard sexual mores, as a justification for actual murder.

In other words, Stewart's character, the boy's old school headmaster, was using murder as a metaphor for sex and the boys took it literally. Yet, in the repressed, sublimated and claustrophobic world of the film, the murder (a strangulation), becomes, once again, a metaphor for sex (choking the victim, the subsequent limpness). And the "terrible secret" that the boys share (sex/murder) is literally hidden under their unsuspecting guest's noses.

Schizophrenics cannot process things like metaphor and irony. Everything must be literalized.

The fault lies not in the metaphor, or in art(ifice), but in the mind of the schizophrenic.

PaulV said...

What is the terminal velocity of a 38 bullet. Someone dropped a softball off a high rise in Cleveland and broke the hand of the guy trying to catch it in his glove.

Palladian said...

There are 9 cuts in the film. The enormous Technicolor cameras could only hold 10 minute magazines of film stock.

The set was made in a way that it could be reconfigured on the fly. The crew was literally moving walls and moving props while the camera was running. Hitchcock did shoot a few retakes but it's all incredibly seamless, especially considering the cumbersome technologies of the day.

My favorite part of the film is the model New York outside the window: dozens and dozens of models, with working lights, some with smoking chimneys, spun-glass cloud formations moving across the slowly-darkening sky, then sunset at the end of the film. And Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance as a neon sign of his profile.

HDHouse said...

PaulV said...
What is the terminal velocity of a 38 bullet."

I think the terminal velocity is always zero.

E.M. Davis said...

Why would Jimmy Stewarts' character need to own a gun?

(Refers to arguments I've been having about the 'need' to own a Glock vs. other guns.)

traditionalguy said...

The Jimmy Stewart character kept a good heart and the other two had gone over to evil hearts. Their Superior Logical analysis was only a way to create a distraction from that basic fact of the human hearts that always makes all of the difference.

HDHouse said...

I was wrong. There must be a glob of honey elsewhere that is attracting the bees.

Palladian said...

"I think the terminal velocity is always zero."

No. Terminal velocity is the point which a falling object's weight equals the resistance of the air. In other words, it's the fastest speed at which a given object can fall, and it's different for every object.

A bullet fired straight up into the air will eventually lose the momentum imparted by its explosive firing charge. At this point it will begin to descend, and will reach its terminal velocity at the point its weight equals the resistance of the air which it's falling through.

A freely-falling .38 caliber bullet will apparently perforate the skin and underlying tissues of a cadaver at 191 feet per second, which is about half its terminal velocity. So a freely-falling .38 caliber bullet can, depending on where it hit someone, kill them.

Of course, many bullets fired into the air are not fired straight up, therefore they won't lose their firing momentum and therefore are far more dangerous than freely-falling bullets.

ricpic said...

Maybe if the intellectually superior could get around to thinking of themselves as the slightly less stupid their whole conceit would end.

Quaestor said...

HDHouse wrote: I think the terminal velocity is always zero.

No. Learn a little physics, why dontcha? The next time you lecture us on AGW (or CC or CD or whatever euphemism is next on the plate) you'll have some credibility.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Love that movie. As I recall, while not one take, there were very long takes, and the story was the actors got very tense--if so, it seems to add to the movie. Presumably that was part of Hitchcock's plan.

I think the movie lets the Stewart character off the hook at the end, when he says they twisted his words. Well, earlier in the movie the Stewart character really does say the sorts of things they quote back to him. But Jimmy was just too lovable. On second thought, maybe it's the audience (including me) who lets him off the hook?

HDH -- you are nuts. I opened this thread to say what I just said. Never dawned on me to make the point you cooked up; it's not even all that good a point.

Pogo said...

Palladian,
Cool fact about the sign; I never knew that.

The gay subtext I was aware of. So is the movie now an anachronism?

Quaestor said...

Palladian wrote: A freely-falling .38 caliber bullet will apparently perforate the skin and underlying tissues of a cadaver at 191 feet per second, which is about half its terminal velocity. So a freely-falling .38 caliber bullet can, depending on where it hit someone, kill them.

This was the subject of an episode of Mythbusters. Savage and Heineman did a number of tests with a variety of calibers, including 30-06 fired from an M1 Garand. None of their test shots penetrated the ground deeper than two inches. They also tested the terminal velocity of various bullets in a wind tunnel and got figures far short of lethal speed. They concluded that in cases of persons injured or killed by shots fired upward, such as celebratory fire at New Years, the bullet was in a ballistic arc and not fired directly upward.

Quaestor said...

Palladian wrote: The intentional, unspoken subtext of "Rope" is that John Dall, Farley Granger and Jimmy Stewart's characters are all homosexuals.

In real life John Dahl and Farley Granger were both gay. In another Hitchcock you've got a gay man (Farley Granger) playing a straight fighting off the unwanted attentions of a gay man played by a straight (Robert Walker)

Quaestor said...

I guess it was the shock of self-recognition that prompted House to post a preemptive stab at Ann. After all, isn't the left which routinely dismisses the opinions of conservatives as foolish and inconsequential, emanating as they do from inferior, though occasionally dangerous, beings?

Quaestor said...

Palladian wrote:
In other words, Stewart's character, the boy's old school headmaster, was using murder as a metaphor for sex and the boys took it literally.


I don't think this interpretation is supported by the text. Given the context Rupert may have been lecturing on Hegel and Nietzsche.

chickelit said...

Very suggestive.

yashu said...

Roger,

I thought it clearly was inspired by the Leopold & Loeb case (the original play is from 1929, L & L murder occurred in 1924). Or maybe that's what you meant.

LarsPorsena said...

"...In another Hitchcock you've got a gay man (Farley Granger) playing a straight fighting off the unwanted attentions of a gay man played by a straight (Robert Walker).."

I think that was "Strangers on a Train". Walker was not portraying a gay guy. His character just wanted his nag of a wife murdered. On second thought, maybe he was gay.

Roger J. said...

Yashu--correct--I meant to refer to LL being the modern case stemming from Nietzche and Doestoyevsky

Progressively Defensive said...

"[There's what you can do ... and what you can't do, mate.]" -Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Carribbean

I don't make light of this, but remember again how chaotic our natural world remains despite all of our paperwork. We who'd aspire to a better world must remain vigilant amidst lunatics, brutes, shirkers, and fools.

Firehand said...

Just to be cover it, for the standard round-nose 158-grain bullet load of the time, muzzle velocity was around 800-850 feet per second; drops off constantly after it leaves the barrel. Might have been lower from a snub-nose revolver like that due to the shorter barrel.

And yeah, I wondered "Why not shoot into the couch? Not thinking real clear at the moment, guy."

The Crack Emcee said...

The title of this post is the very delusion I've been challenging since the "Dr." and my wife killed.

steve w said...

So, in the context of this story, would not the very essence of "eliminationist rhetoric" be the promulgation of a political and social system that gives one elite group of society the right to make more and more decisions for those who, owing to their not belonging to the elite, are inherently inferred to be inferior? Is this not a description of todays democrat party?