Santa brought me a DVD copy of my favorite Hitchcock movie, Rope. Based on the Leopold and Loeb case, the movie's plot is a rather twisted tale of two well-bred, well-educated young men (lovers, actually) who murder one of their classmates for the thrill of it. I'm not giving anything away because the act takes place in the first few minutes of the movie; the rest of the film is about the cover up and the intrigue. For me, though, the main draw is the fabulous apartment owned by Brandon, one of the killers. For those of you who haven't seen it, the entire film takes place in this apartment, so by the end of the movie you really feel like you know that set. (It's kind of like Something's Gotta Give- you feel like you're living in the character's home...or perhaps you wish that you did.)
The apartment is really the height of 1940's Manhattan chic. It's traditional of course, befitting the upper class pedigree of the two murderers. It's proper and well-mannered, an incongruous setting in which to commit a gruesome murder. But what strikes me is how mature the apartment is, especially as its owner was a young man in his early twenties. And for that time, I don't think this was at all unusual. If you look back at much of the twentieth century, younger people seemed eager to become adults and to assume the trappings of their parents' generation, including grown-up homes, grown-up clothing, and grown-up parties. It's a far cry from today in which many treat their twenties as a decade long transition into adulthood. (I'm not casting dispersion, just making an observation.) I only bring this up because if a young man of 21 or 22 lived in an apartment like this today, some might think it old-fogey. Not me, mind you.
So what's so fabulous about this apartment? I'll break it down for you.
Here's one shot of the living room. There's that rather modern looking banquette along the wall of windows. I've always thought the windows were a little strange looking, perhaps because I've never felt like it was in keeping with the rest of the apartment. Still, can you imagine having a view like that?
This view is from the center of the living room looking into the entryway and the dining room beyond. First, let's discuss the marvelous architecture surrounding that door. I look upon that with envy seeing that my home is filled with simple metal 1968 door frames- boring. And another funny little 1940's touch is the faux balustrade that was painted along one side of the entryway. Perhaps a very Hollywood flourish, but one that I like nonetheless.
In this corner of the living room is Philip's piano (that's Farley Granger's character) where he plays that funny little tune throughout the movie. Despite the very traditional furnishings, the artwork was modern for the time. That painting above the little table was by a "Young American Primitive", at least according to Brandon.
The other end of the living room looks out onto a neighboring building with a large neon sign. Check out the simple valances that are the same color as the walls.
The wood paneled dining room that is a trifle mature for Brandon and Philip, and yet I find it appealing. And for such young men, they owned awfully nice silver candelabras, flatware, salt cellars, and china. Oh, and it appears they're drinking Veuve Clicquot- my kind of guys.
I also think there are some great details to this apartment:
How gorgeous are these chairs? The rest of the apartment is rather somber in color, something not out of place for the 1940s. But look how that vivid blue satin upholstery sings when placed against the murky colors.
I'm not showing this image because of the cityscape outside of the windows, though who wouldn't want to look out to that every evening. Check out the simple square button tufts on the back cushions.
The damask fabric is a bit staid, but I do love a wing chair.
My favorite part of the entire apartment? The mahogany card table that was pressed into service as a bar during a party. Looks like there's dry gin, whiskey, champagne (something which caused most of the guests to exclaim "Oh....it's that kind of party." Personally, I like those kind of parties!), and a bowl of nuts. This is a bar done right.