Strangers on a Train (1951)

PG   |    |  Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller


Strangers on a Train (1951) Poster

A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder.


7.9/10
121,463


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  • Farley Granger and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Alfred Hitchcock on teh set of "Strangers On A Train." 1950 Warner Bros
  • Farley Granger in Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Farley Granger and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Farley Granger and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951)
  • Kasey Rogers and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train (1951)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


15 August 2006 | ametaphysicalshark
One of Hitchcock's finest achievements
"Strangers on a Train" is a brilliant example of what Hitchcock could do best, continually develop his plot and characters in an atmosphere both creepy and humorous. The film has great dialogue, superb characters, good acting, and naturally superb direction from the master of suspense who is truly at his best here. Robert Walker's Bruno Anthony is a character few will forget; he is creepy, psychopathic, and as M. Night Shyamalan says on one of the DVD's special features it is the fact that he has moral standards, however unconventional and disturbed they may be, that makes him such a dangerous man.

Strangers is a truly involving film, one that takes you on a ride you won't forget anytime soon, it has one of the best examples of buildup you could find on film, and as soon as it ends the film takes you on a journey that entertains and terrifies and even makes you laugh. This is a truly brilliant example of film-making, every shot is drenched in suspense, every cut is masterful, every detail important, every second exciting, it never lets go till the very end, and what an ending that is, a delicious bit of humor that is perfectly in tone with the rest of this delightful masterpiece.

Some have criticized Farley Granger's performance as Guy Haines, but it really is quite perfect; he delivered all his lines well and makes us feel honestly sympathetic towards him. Robert Walker is simply genius as Bruno Anthony, a great character that wouldn't have been nearly as memorable without Robert Walker's devilishly evil portrayal of him. The supporting cast are good, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Kasey Rogers, Howard St. John and Patricia Hitchcock all deliver good performances that enhance what was already a good film and make it a great film. Alfred Hitchcock's direction is, as always, sublime.

What makes "Strangers" so good is the simple plot. It isn't a complicated story, two strangers meet on a train, and one comes up with a crazy plot: "You do my murder, I do yours." One takes it as a joke and shrugs it off, but the other takes himself seriously and goes on to commit the murder he offered to, getting the 'good guy' into huge trouble. The script is adapted superbly well by Whitfield Cook from a novel by Patricia Highsmith.

This is really one of Hitchcock's most interesting films from a technical perspective while also providing more than enough laughs, suspense, and thrills to keep just about anybody engaged.

10/10

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final scene of the so-called American version of this movie had Barbara and Anne Morton waiting for Guy to call on the telephone. Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted the phone in the foreground to dominate the shot, emphasizing the importance of the call, but the limited depth-of-field of contemporary movie camera lenses made it difficult to get both phone and women in focus. So Hitchcock had an oversized phone constructed and placed in the foreground. Anne reaches for the big phone, but actually answers a regular one: "I did that on one take", Hitchcock explained, "by moving in on Anne so that the big phone went out of the frame as she reached for it. Then a grip put a normal-sized phone on the table, where she picked it up."


Quotes

Guy Haines: Oh, excuse me.
Bruno Anthony: I beg your pardon, but aren't you Guy Haines?


Goofs

When Guy is on the train returning to Metcalf (after the tennis match) you can see over his shoulder that the sun has almost completely set - but the next scene shows Bruno (in line to go back to the island) looking up to see the full sun in the sky.


Alternate Versions

There are several differences in the British version of the film, including:

  • The first encounter between Bruno and Guy on the train is longer, and features a more obvious homoerotic flirtation by Bruno;
  • In the scene where Guy sneaks out of his apartment to go to Bruno's house, a shot of him opening a drawer to get the map Bruno sketched is added;
  • The very last scene in the US version, which involves a clergyman, was deleted.


Soundtracks

Baby Face
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by
Harry Akst
Played during the Tunnel of Love sequence

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller

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