Ralph Crane Alfred Hitchcock Rehearsal for "The Rope"
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1948 Print Date 1948
Dimensions 10-1/2 x 13-3/8 in. (267 x 340 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's stamp on verso. Used in LIFE February 23, 1948 p. 6. The Rope staring actors Jimmy Stewart, Farley Granger, John Dall, Joan Chandler, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, Edith Evans and Douglas Dick are seated listening to Hitchcock along with various crew members in background. This psychological crime thriller is notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot through the use of long takes. It is based on the play by Patrick Hamilton said to be inspired by the real-life murder of Bobby Franks in 1924 by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb.
Ralph (Rudi) Crane was born July 30, 1913 in Halberstadt, Germany. He was a LIFE staff photographer for several decades and was known for his versatility and ease in any setting. He was a tall, elegant gentleman – a kind man and a pleasure to work with. Crane was expected to be a physician like his father and grandfather but instead pursued his father’s hobby of photography. He began taking pictures when he was 12. He spent so much time in the family darkroom that whenever his homework suffered too much his father deprived him of his camera until his school marks improved.
At 18 Crane decided to become a news photographer. One of his father’s patient’s got him a job carrying heavy equipment for the photographers of Wide World Photos (now part of AP). During the following two years he was promoted to a picture messenger, a darkroom worker then staff photographer. He also freelanced for the New York Times in Berlin. When he was 21 he was assigned to cover Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia.
After many left the Times Berlin bureau in 1933 due to growth and influence of the Third Reich, Crane moved to the UK in 1934, then to Geneva, Switzerland where he freelanced for Camera Press and Black Star and also where he met and married his wife, Denise.
From 1936 – 1941 he worked out of the New York Times London bureau on many stories in Europe. In the spring of 1941 he emigrated to US via the international free port of Lisbon. Following years of working for LIFE through Black star (he had a photograph of a Swiss mountain climber in the first issue, November 23, 1936) he joined LIFE’s staff in 1951, working out of the Bonn bureau (1952- 56) then the Los Angeles bureau until 1963. He continued with LIFE until the magazine folded as a weekly in 1972 and then worked on various projects at Time Inc. under contract until June of 1979. He returned to Geneva where he died in 1988 from cancer. He was 74.