Strangers on a Train (1951) Film Review A-

Strangers on a Train
DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde.
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Edited by: William H. Ziegler
Original Score: Dmitri Tiomkin
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Starring: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Patricia Hitchcock
BOTTOM LINE: “Strangers on a Train” is one of Hitchcock’s best but not his absolute best. Hitchcock reverses himself here, having gay actor Farley Granger play the straight character Guy Haines and straight actor Robert Walker play the gay character Bruno Antony. Actress Marion Lorne has a memorable few minutes as Bruno’s mother – she is as crazy as her son. Amateur tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) wants to divorce his unfaithful wife Miriam so he can marry Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), the daughter of a US Senator. On a train, wealthy, smooth-talking psychopath Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) recognizes Haines and reveals his idea for a murder scheme: two strangers meet and “swap murders”—Bruno suggests he kill Miriam and Guy kill Bruno’s hated father. Each will murder a stranger with no apparent motive, so neither will be suspected. Guy humors Bruno by pretending to find his idea amusing but is so eager to get away from Bruno that he leaves behind his engraved cigarette lighter. Walker died, aged thirty-two, a few weeks after the film’s release. Patricia Hitchcock, Hitchcock’s daughter, has her largest screen role as Roman’s sister. A huge success, it brought Hitchocok into the Fifties on chariots of fire, which kept on rolling until “Marnie” in 1964.
Hitchcock’s cameos: “Strangers on a Train” is one of FIVE Hitchcock films in which he makes not one but TWO cameo appearances. The others are “The Lodger” (1927), “Suspicion” (1941), “Rope” (1948), and “Under Capricorn” (1949). Cameos: 0:02:22 He’s on the book’s cover that Farley Granger is reading. 0:10:34 He’s seen boarding a train with a double bass as Farley Granger gets off in his hometown. The double bass is no accident since Hitchcock fills the movie with doubles and criss-crosses.

The criss-cross plot of I’ll Kill Yours if You Kill Mine was used again in “Throw Mama From a Train” (1987).

STREAMING: Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and YouTube

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