Pros: Great plot; Wonderful characters; Robert Walker is AMAZING; excellent script
Cons: Don't watch it alone!
I have never been so creeped out by a character in a film in my life. Perhaps that's because I am not a huge fan of horror or suspense films. In watching one Hitchcock film a week in my Hitchcock class at UAA, I have been exposed to a little more of that type of genre. Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt freaked me out. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca made me uncomfortable.
Bruno in Strangers on a Train made my skin crawl.
Guy Haines (Farley Granger), a famous tennis pro, and Bruno Antony (Robert Walker), a rich bum, have a chance meeting on a train ride from Washington DC to New York. Bruno recognizes Guy and starts talking his ear off. Nearing the end of their conversation, Bruno suggests that the two "swap murders" of the people that are bothering them: Bruno will murder Guy's cheating wife and Guy will murder Bruno's annoying father. Guy does his best to ignore Bruno by patronizing him, saying, "sure, Bruno. Sure, that sounds like a good idea."
Well, Bruno takes Guy seriously. He heads to Metcalf, where Guy and his wife life, and finds Miriam (Kasey Rogers). He verifies her identity, and proceeds to kill her. With his end of the bargain held up, Bruno tracks down Guy and tries to convince him to kill his father. Guy is a suspect in Miriam's murder, which doesn't look good for his current girlfriend, Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), and her family.
Guy needs to prove that he didn't kill Miriam, all while under the watchful eye of the police that have been tailing him. With the help of Anne and her younger sister, Barbara (played by Hitchcock's real daughter, Patricia Hitchcock), do their best to help Guy out. Is it enough? Watch the movie and see!
Hitchcock's pure cinema idea is absolutely unbelievable during the carousel scene. Talk about a cathartic experience! The fighting, the risking of innocent lives, the police waiting to nab an innocent man, the man underneath the carousel trying to shut the chaotic ride down. . . Hitchcock defines the term "climax" in this scene.
So far, Strangers on a Train is my favorite Hitchcock movie. Bruno was just so creepy! He was delusional, overly friendly and he believed his own lies. It was horribly disturbing. I would love to see a remake of this, only (virtually) every Hitchcock remake has been a flop. The remakes miss one major element: Hitchcock.
I highly recommend it, but don't watch it by yourself!
Pros: Great plot; Wonderful characters; Robert Walker is AMAZING; excellent script Cons: Don't watch it alone! I have never been so creeped out by a character in a film in my life. Perhaps that's because I am not a huge fan of horror or suspense films. In watching one Hitchcock film a week in my Hitchcock class at UAA, I have been exposed to a little more of that type of genre. Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt freaked me out. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca … more
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From its cleverly choreographed opening sequence to its heart-stopping climax on a rampant carousel, this 1951 Hitchcock classic readily earns its reputation as one of the director's finest examples of timeless cinematic suspense. It's not just a ripping-good thriller but a film student's delight and a perversely enjoyable battle of wits between tennis pro Guy (Farley Granger) and his mysterious, sycophantic admirer, Bruno (Robert Walker), who proposes a "criss-cross" scheme of traded murders. Bruno agrees to kill Guy's unfaithful wife, in return for which Guy will (or so it seems) kill Bruno's spiteful father. With an emphasis on narrative and visual strategy, Hitchcock controls the escalating tension with a master's flair for cinematic design, and the plot (coscripted by Raymond Chandler) is so tightly constructed that you'll be white-knuckled even after multiple viewings. Strangers on a Train remains one of Hitchcock's crowning achievements and a suspenseful classic that never loses its capacity to thrill and delight. --Jeff Shannon