Got a friend who thinks Alfred Hitchcock was just a hugely successful horror-film hack? Give him or her a taste of this little poison pill, one of Hitchcock's most overtly daring experiments. Rope (1948) unrolls in real time, with long, unbroken takes telling a story loosely based on the notorious 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder, in which a pair of affluent gay lovers killed a young boy just for kicks. (The case also inspired 1959's Compulsion and 1991's queer-cinema landmark Swoon.) And who else to play the unwitting inspiration to Rope's pair of killer queens than . . . Jimmy Stewart?! Stewart, then just starting the string of Hitchcock collaborations that would add some dark shades to his sunny image, plays a college professor whose Nietzchean pronouncements spur students Farley Granger and John Dall to nihilistic action. Rope's closeted-queer subtext (and some of its dialogue) may have aged poorly, but this is still filmmaking at its most timelessly hair-raising.