“The culture at that time was trying to deny that homosexuality even existed, and here they had well known Hollywood players involved in it, so they didn’t want to see what was there. […] What is extraordinary about [Rope] is its treatment of homosexuality. I mean today it still is one of the most sophisticated movies ever made on that subject; probably treats them more as people than anybody else has. Hitchcock certainly knew that, and it certainly attracted him. And what he liked was not that they were homosexual, but that they were homosexual murderers. If they were just murderers he wouldn’t have been interested, if they were just homosexual he wouldn’t have been interested. You had to have another little twist to it…”
— as told by Arthur Laurents, the screenwriter of Rope, a 1948 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, adapted from a 1929 play based on a real murder case. Arthur Laurents, both of the actors portraying the couple (John Dall and Farley Granger), and the composer of the featured piano score were all known to be gay in real life (though it’s said that Granger resented the gay label, and he officially came out as bisexual towards the end of his life). The character played by Jimmy Stewart in Rope was also gay, but the final version of the script was so subtle due to censorship that Laurents was unsure if Stewart ever realized he was playing a gay character.
Just watched this again last night, it’s fantastic!