Strangers on a Train (1951 film)

Strangers on a Train 1951 film poster

From an original review of the film, based on the 1950 book of  the same title by Patricia Highsmith, The Bridgeport Post, July 1951:  Warner Brothers presents Strangers on a Train, a screenplay by Raymond Chandler; from a novel by Patricia Highsmith. Starring Farley Grangers, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

An offbeat story of murder, Strangers on a Train draws its appeal from the suspense it creates rather than from cold-blooded killing. The audience knows the slayer from the start, so interest is created through a series of tense situations and unexpected twists that keep the action moving toward the climax.

There is plenty to plot and the Alfred Hitchcock direction sets the film apart fro the usual run of melodramas. Guy Haines (Farley Granger), a tennis player, and Bruno Antony (Robert Waltker), a stranger, get into a conversation on a Washington to New York train. Bruno knows that Guy seeks a divorce from a wife who has made his life miserable, to marry the daughter of a U.S. senator.

Strangers on a train 1951 film

Bruno proposes that he kill Guy’s wife, in return for which Guy would kill his father. Guy, horrified, leaves his cigarette lighter behind as he departs. Bruno trans Guy’s wife to an amusement park and strangles her. Then he begins putting the pressure on Guy to murder his father and even threatens to involve him in his wife’s death unless he demands are carried out.

Farley Granger and Ruth Roman in Strangers on a Train (1951)
Guy guesses Bruno plans to plant the cigarette lighter at the scene of the murder to incriminate him. He trails Bruno to the amusement par where the pair battle for survival on a runaway carousel.

Granger gives a strong performance as the victim of a fantastic plot, but Walker is outstanding in the role of the insane killer. Ruth Roman, as Granger’s sweetheart, is adequate to the minor demands of the part.



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