Strangers on a Train (1951)


Strangers on a Train (1951) movie posterdirector Alfred Hitchcock
viewed: 01/08/2017

Another personal favorite Hitchcock was our second film in our mini-marathon. Strangers on a Train features one of my favorite Hitchcock sequences and shots, the tracking to the murder and the murder itself, reflected in the fallen glasses of the victim.

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s first novel, Strangers on a Train moves a somewhat gimmicky set-up, two strangers who meet on a train and exchange murder plots, and elevates it to fascinating stuff. Though the movie breaks with the novel in significant ways, it’s hard not to think that its influence did not play out in Highsmith’s other work at times, elevating the sense of duality and doppelgangers, things that play out in other works of hers as well.

Robert Walker really steals the show. His callow, creepy Bruno is a disturbing villain. I also think Kasey Rogers/Laura Elliott who plays Miriam, the murder victim, is terrific in her small role. She’s the bespectacled bad girl, who cheated on her husband and goes through the Tunnel of Love with two, count ’em, two guys, only to get strangled by the stalker with whom she is flirting. At least she is executed in one of the finest Expressionistic images of murder Hitchcock (or anyone) ever created.

Every scene at the fairground is amazing. Bruno popping the boy’s balloon. The carousel gone crazy. That little guy, who crawls under the speeding carousel only to cause it to go flying to bits, is hilarious and cool.

Classic, classic stuff.

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