Strangers on a Train (1951) / Thriller
MPAA Rated: PG for some violence and thematic material
Running Time: 101 min.
Cast: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia Hitchcock, Laura Elliott
Cameo: Alfred Hitchcock
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde, Whitfield Cook (based on the book by Patricia Highsmith)
Review published April 14, 1997
Amateur tennis star Guy Haines (Granger, Rope) unwittingly enters into a bargain with lunatic Bruno Antony (Walker, Vengeance Valley) after a chance meeting on a train. The deal is that in order to avoid the motive aspect of a murder, they would swap murders and kill the most hated person in each others' lives.
Guy wants to marry the daughter (Roman, The Far Country) of a popular senator (Carroll, North by Northwest) and pursue a life in politics on his own, but his philandering wife (Elliott, Peyton Place) smells a gravy train by staying married to Guy and refuses to divorce. Bruno offs her and wants his domineering father killed, but Guy refuses to hold up his part of the bargain since he had took Bruno as joking. Now the cops are tailing him as the prime suspect, and Bruno threatens to frame him if Guy does not murder his father.
Brilliantly shot by the Master, Alfred Hitchcock (Stage Fright, Under Capricorn). This film is a near masterpiece of construction, with taut direction and terrific performances throughout. There are memorable moments galore, from the shadows in the Tunnel of Love to the reflections of a murder in the glasses of Bruno's victim. Only a few awkward scenes at the end of the film mar this film from perfection. Hitchcock at his very best and a must view for the performance of Robert Walker as Bruno.
©1997 Vince Leo