Strangers on a Train

“A gripping, palm-sweating piece of suspense.” —Variety
Year: 1951
Country: USA
Running time: 101 mins
USA
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Production co: Warner Brothers
Screenplay: Raymond Chandler, Whitfield Cook, Czenzi Ormonde
Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith
Photography: Robert Burks
Art director: Edward S. Haworth
Editor: William H. Ziegler
Music: Dmitri Tiomkin
B&W

With:
Farley Granger
Robert Walker
Ruth Roman
Leo G. Carroll
Patricia Hitchcock
Marion Lorne
Howard St. John
“HITCHCOCK’S BIZARRE, malicious comedy, in which the late Robert Walker brought sportive originality to the role of the chilling wit, dear degenerate Bruno; it’s intensely enjoyable – in some ways the best of Hitchcock’s American films. The murder plot is so universally practical that any man may adapt it to his needs: Bruno perceives that though he cannot murder his father with impunity, someone else could; when he meets the unhappily married tennis player Guy (Farley Granger), he murders Guy’s wife for him and expects Guy to return the favour.

“Technically, the climax of the film is the celebrated runaway merry-go-round, but the high point of excitement and amusement is Bruno trying to recover his cigarette lighter while Guy plays a fantastically nerve-racking tennis match. Even this high point isn’t what we remember best – which is Robert Walker. It isn’t often that people think about a performance in a Hitchcock movie; usually what we recall are bits of ‘business’ – the stump finger in The 39 Steps, the windmill turning the wrong way in Foreign Correspondent, etc. But Walker’s performance is what gives this movie much of its character and its peculiar charm.

“It is typical of Hollywood’s brand of perversity that Raymond Chandler was never hired to adapt any of his own novels for the screen; he was, however, employed on Double Indemnity and Strangers on a Train (which is based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith). Chandler (or someone – perhaps Czenzi Ormonde, who’s also credited) provided Hitchcock with some of the best dialogue that ever graced a thriller.” — Pauline Kael