The stunt where the man crawled under the carousel was not done with trick photography. Sir Alfred Hitchcock claimed that this was the most dangerous stunt ever performed under his direction, and he would never allow it to be done again.
Some posters showed Sir Alfred Hitchcock inserting the letter "L" into the word "Strangers" in the title to make "Stranglers".
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."
In the scene where Ruth Roman and Patricia Hitchcock are watching the tennis match, Ruth gives Patricia a real U.S. ten dollar bill. Showing real U.S. money in movies then was illegal without permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury Department later removed the prohibition for "Psycho" (1960) and later movies.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Walker worked out an elaborate series of gestures and physical appearance to suggest the homosexuality and seductiveness of Bruno's character while bypassing censor objections.
As was his usual practice, Sir Alfred Hitchcock shot each scene so that there was only one way to edit it, which always conformed to his initial visual concept and pre-production storyboards.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the original novel anonymously to keep the price down, and got them for just $7,500.
This was the last theatrical movie for Robert Walker, who died eight months after filming finished from an allergic reaction to a drug.
While working on this movie, Robert Walker was delighted to find out that he was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's only choice for Bruno Antony.
Patricia Hitchcock was encouraged by her father to go for a ride on the Ferris wheel constructed on the fairgrounds set. In exchange for doing it, he offered her one hundred dollars because she did not want to do it, as she is scared of heights. She was finally persuaded to do it partly for the money. When she reached the top, Sir Alfred Hitchcock ordered the ride stopped and all lights turned out for something like five seconds. She never got the money, and calls her father's act "sadistic".
This is the movie that determined the location of Carol Burnett's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1951, she was working as an usher when this movie was playing at the Warner Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. A couple arrived late, and Burnett, having already seen this movie, advised them that it was a wonderful movie that should be seen from the beginning. The manager of the theater very rudely fired her for this. Many years later, when Carol Burnett was asked where she would like to have her star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she requested that it be placed in front of that theater.
With the death of Farley Granger in 2011, Patricia Hitchcock is the last surviving member of the cast.
According to Farley Granger, Sir Alfred Hitchcock hated Ruth Roman and treated her very harshly, often criticizing her in front of everyone. "He had to have one person in each film he could harass", Granger noted.
In an interview, Farley Granger revealed that this movie and "They Live by Night (1948)" were his favorite movies. Granger also revealed that he loved working with Robert Walker and was very upset when he heard about Walker's sudden death, which happened eight months after filming.
According to Farley Granger, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, who worked all his shots out in great detail on paper before shooting, often looked unhappy on the set. When Granger asked him if something was wrong, Hitchcock complained, "Oh, I'm so bored!"
Sir Alfred Hitchcock personally designed Bruno's necktie with its threatening lobster claw image.
An amusement park was created according to Sir Alfred Hitchcock's exact specifications at the ranch of director Rowland V. Lee in Chatsworth, California. However, the tunnel-of-love scenes were shot at a fairground in Canoga Park.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock refused to treat his daughter preferentially, which won them both the respect of the other players. "We never discuss Strangers on a Train at home", she told an interviewer at the time. "On the set, he gives me direction, as well as criticism. I might as well be Jane Jones instead of Patricia Hitchcock."
Sir Alfred Hitchcock had admired Edgar Allan Poe's stories since his teenage years, and went on to put Edgar Allan Poe references in his movies. French critics noticed that there are connections between the runaway carousel in this movie and Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom".
Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted a "name" writer to lend some prestige to the screenplay, but was turned down by eight writers, including John Steinbeck and Thornton Wilder, all of whom thought the story too tawdry, and were put off by Patricia Highsmith's first-timer status. Talks with Dashiell Hammett got further, but here too communications ultimately broke down, and Hammett never took the assignment.
The character of Bruno was named after Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the convicted kidnapper and killer of the Lindbergh Baby.
It was highly successful at the box office. Sir Alfred Hitchcock's four previous movies, "The Paradine Case (1947)," "Rope (1948)," "Under Capricorn (1949)," and "Stage Fright (1950)" were box-office failures.
Tennis pro Jack Cunningham coached Farley Granger for the scenes that depicted Guy Haines engaged in a tennis match. Cunningham also played his opponent in those scenes.
The merry-go-round scene is not in the book, but is taken from the climax of the 1946 novel The Moving Toyshop, written by Bruce Montgomery as Edmund Crispin. All of the major elements of the scene, the two men struggling, the accidentally-shot attendant, the out-of-control merry-go-round, the crawling under the moving merry-go-round to disable it, are present in Crispin's account, though he received no screen credit for it.
Raymond Chandler is credited as the main author of the script, but it was almost completely written by Czenzi Ormonde, who was credited as second author.
Kasey Rogers noted that she had perfect vision at the time the movie was made, but Sir Alfred Hitchcock insisted she wear the character's thick eyeglasses, even in long shots when regular glass lenses would have been undetectable. Rogers was effectively blind with the glasses on, and needed to be guided by the other actors and actresses. In one scene, she can be seen dragging her hand along a table as she walks. This was in order for her to keep track of where she was.
DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): Early in the movie boarding a train carrying a double bass as Guy gets off the train.
The relationship between Raymond Chandler and Sir Alfred Hitchcock was not a happy one. The main bone of contention between the two men was that Chandler's writing paid more attention to character motivation, while Hitchcock was more interested in the visual development and formal structure of the movie laid out in the treatment. In a letter to a studio executive, Chandler said he preferred to work with a director "who realizes that what is said and how it is said is more important than shooting it upside down through a glass of champagne." The two men also had different meeting styles. Hitchcock enjoyed long, rambling off-topic meetings where often the movie would not even be mentioned for hours, while Chandler was strictly business and wanted to get out and get writing. He called the meetings "god-awful jabber sessions which seem to be an inevitable although painful part of the picture business." Chandler was also a hard drinker and a difficult person with whom to get along under the best of circumstances. Interpersonal relations deteriorated rapidly until finally Chandler became openly combative. When Hitchcock arrived at Chandler's house for a story meeting, Chandler hollered from his window, "Look at the fat bastard trying to get out of his car!" When his secretary warned that Hitchcock might be able to hear him, Chandler said he didn't care.
Similar to the scene of Bruno at the Morton's party, Sir Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed showing people in social situations how to strangle someone. Also, a famous sequence of photos by Philippe Halsman shows Hitchcock doing various things to a bust of his daughter, including strangling her.
Warner Brothers wanted their own stars, already under contract, cast wherever possible. In the casting of Anne Morton, Jack L. Warner got what he wanted when he assigned Ruth Roman to the project, over Sir Alfred Hitchcock's objections. Hitchcock found her "bristling" and "lacking in sex appeal" and said that she had been "foisted upon him".
When Bruno searches for the cigarette lighter in the drain, Sir Alfred Hitchcock personally selected the items of trash that lie on the floor.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted William Holden to play the part of Guy Haines, but he was unavailable.
When this movie was released in Germany in 1952, about five minutes were removed which were considered too brutal or sadistic. Later, the scenes were re-added for television, but they are subtitled, while the rest of the movie is dubbed.
As Guy leaves the last match, part of a quotation clearly including the words "two impostors" is visible on the beam above his head. It is from Rudyard Kipling's poem "If." The line reads "If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same..." It appears above the players' entrance at Forest Hills' Center Court.
Cinematographer Robert Burks began an association with Sir Alfred Hitchcock on this movie that would last another thirteen years and a dozen movies. "You never have any trouble with him as long as you know your job and do it", Burks said. "Hitchcock insists on perfection. He has no patience with mediocrity on the set or at a dinner table. There can be no compromise in his work, his food, or his wines."
While the script was still being worked on, Sir Alfred Hitchcock went to the Forest Hills tennis club in New York City to film the Davis Cup matches between Australia and the U.S. for long shots of Guy competing.
The drunk on the train with Guy is singing the traditional folk song 'Bill Grogan's Goat'. He only manages to only get out these lyrics: "He loved that goat. Indeed he did. He loved that goat. Just like a kid." What's left out of the song, ironically, is not only dark, but involves a train. After the goat eats the man's clothes, the song continues: "The man, he grabbed... Him by the back... And tied him to... A railroad track... Now, when that train... Hove into sight... That goat grew pale... And green with fright." Which symbolically (not at all literally) foreshadows Guy's predicament in the minutes to come.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock tried to hire Ben Hecht to write the script, but learned he was unavailable. Hecht suggested his assistant, Czenzi Ormonde.
The professional carnival used for the amusement park sequences for this movie was Crafts 20 Big Shows, owned by Mike Cartel's father, and filmed on director Rowland Lee's ranch in Chatsworth, California.
There were several changes made from the original novel: the character Bruno Antony was named Charles Anthony Bruno, and Guy Haines was an architect, not a tennis player. Also, Anne Morton was originally named Anne Faulkner.
The train station scenes in Metcalf were filmed at the former New Haven Railroad station, Danbury, Connecticut, which is today the home of the Danbury Railroad Museum.
Among the songs playing at the amusement park are the former extremely popular songs And the Band Played On (1895), Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1911), and the Beer Barrel Polka (1927). At the time, these songs were between 26 and 56 years out of date but now, some three generations later, they can still be heard at some amusement parks.
When Anne is at the Antony home and Bruno's mother leaves the room, Bruno enters and talks to Anne. He is wearing the same printed silk dressing robe worn by Sheridan Whiteside, played by Monty Woolley in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942). You can see Robert Walker wearing it in one of the still photos on this movie's page, and Monty Woolley wearing it at one minute and five seconds of the trailer for The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) on its page.
Raymond Chandler disparagingly called producer Barbara Keon "Hitchcock's factotum".
When Guy is speaking with the police, he is holding a newspaper. The photo of the professor can be seen centered directly on the vertical fold of the paper. This could have been employed as a device to imply Guy's guilt, but it was never used.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a sixty-minute radio adaptation of this movie on December 3, 1951 with Ruth Roman reprising her role.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
The letters on the shirts of the ball boys at the tennis game, "WSTC", stand for the "West Side Tennis Club", where the stadium is located.
When Guy confronts Bruno in the darkened bedroom, he produces a German Luger pistol which he subsequently throws down. Bruno picks it up and follows Guy to the stars. In the brief closeup of the pistol, it is not a Luger he's holding but another German made pistol, a P-38.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
The train station scene in "Metcalf" was actually filmed in Danbury, CT at the old train station on White St. (It is still there and is now a museum.) In one of the shots, signs for Leahy's fuel and range oil and Ray's Danbury Diner can be seen. (Both also are still there, though Ray's is now called the New Holiday Diner.) In subsequent shots, from the same angle, the word "Danbury" is obscured and seems to say "Metcalf". It looks like the negative or the print was altered to change it so as not to identify with Danbury, CT. The problem must have caught after location filming, and it was easier to fix after-the-fact.