Strangers on a Train 1951

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(62) IMDb 8.1/10
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In one of Alfred Hitchcock's suspense classics, tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) chances to meet wealthy wastrel Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) on a train. Having read all about Guy, Bruno is aware that the tennis player is trapped in an unhappy marriage to to wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) and has been seen in the company of senator's daughter Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Baiting Guy, Bruno reveals that he feels trapped by his hated father (Jonathan Hale). As Guy listens with detached amusement, Bruno discusses the theory of exchange murders. Suppose that Bruno were to murder Guy's wife, and Guy in exchange were to kill Bruno's father? With no known link between the two men, the police would be none the wiser, would they? When he reaches his destination, Guy bids goodbye to Bruno, thinking nothing more of the affable but rather curious young man's homicidal theories. And then, Guy's wife turns up strangled to death. Co-adapted by Raymond Chandler from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train perfectly exemplifies Hitchcock's favorite theme of the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary men.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Starring:
Marion Lor, Farley Granger
Rental Formats:
DVD

Strangers on a Train

Product Details

Discs
  • Strangers On A Train - Original Feature parental_guidance
  • Strangers On A Train - Preview Version parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 36 minutes
Starring Marion Lor, Farley Granger, Jonathan Hale, Marion Lorne, Patricia Hitchcock, Robert Walker, Laura Elliot, Leo G. Carroll, Ruth Roman
Director Alfred Hitchcock
Genres Crime, Drama, Thriller
Studio WARNER HOME VIDEO
Rental release 1 November 2004
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By IWFIcon VINE VOICE on 3 Sep 2008
Format: DVD
Guy Haines (Farley Granger) meets Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) on a train and Bruno has the idea for a perfect murder. If two people, who ostensibly have never met, swap murders there will be no apparent motive and nothing to link each to the other's crime. Guy humours Bruno, largely to get rid of him, but Bruno actually carries out the murder of his wife, and then expects him to return the favour. This is the basis of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train.

Packed with great set-pieces (the tennis match, the climactic carousel ride), stunning technical shots (we see Miriam Haines' murder through her own glasses) and a superb villain in the form of Robert Walker's Bruno Antony, Strangers On A Train was a return to form for Hitch after three relatively disappointing films both in terms of critical and commercial reaction (Rope, Under Capricorn & Stage Fright).

Hitchcock expertly toys with the audience's emotions throughout the film. Although Bruno is a murderer, we feel more sympathetic to him that we do to Guy at times. After all, Guy would like to have done it himself and shows little emotion at his wife's death. A great moment comes when Bruno decides to blackmail Guy; having kept Guy's lighter he intends to place it at the scene of the murder and whilst we, as viewers, desperately want Guy to finish his tennis match in time (and escape the attentions of the police) in order to give chase to Bruno, we also hope that Bruno, who drops the lighter down a drain on his way to the scene, manages to grab the lighter and continue on his journey. It's also true in general terms that Hitchcock's camera seems to prefer the charismatic and flamboyant Bruno to the more stoic and, well, dull Guy.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Feb 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A chance meeting in a train carriage brings Robert Walker's deceptively amiable Bruno into conversation with smart society tennis player (Farley Granger). Both men hypothesise on the nature of killing, and Bruno suggests that they exchange a verbal contract of murder, Granger's wife for Walker's father, much to the sportsman's amusement. But when his wife turns up strangled days later and a brief phone call reminds Granger of his obligation he understands, with chilling realisation, the contract was all too real. The premise of the film fits neatly as a parable of a pact with the devil. Walker is a psychopath with his eye on family money, his father the sole remaining obstacle to his inheritance, whilst Granger is in a stale marriage with his eye on another woman. Murder would suit both very well, but conscience pulls Granger back from the brink, his mind unable to cope with the enormity of murder. He is, however, in a battle of wits with a man in every sense his intellectual equal and unrestrained by the need to play to rules. Hitchcock's playground: the human conscience and the merry dance it can lead us, is given good airing here as the metaphorical noose slips tighter around Granger's neck. Both men give good value in their respective roles but you sense that it is Walker, with beguiling charm and understated menace, who is close in spirit to his psychotic character than Granger is to his perplexed nemisis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 21 Sep 2008
Format: DVD
'Strangers On A Train' is one the greatest Hitchcock Movies.

Staring Robert Walker (who for some reason makes talking of murder sound 'sexy') plays 'Bruno Anthony' - a rather 'unbalanced' man to say the least, and who has an equally 'dotty' mother played by the marvellous Marion Lorne (remember the 'dotty' aunt in 'Bewitched'?)

He meets a famous Tennis Player, 'Guy Haines' on a train and speaks of 'switching' murders - the disposing of two different people each of them could do without, but 'Haines' does not take him seriously - bigger fool him!

This also stars Patricia Hitchcock (daughter of Alfred) who, though has a somewhat smaller role, nevertheless makes a lasting impression.

There are quite a few dramatic scenes in this, and one of the most exciting ever has to be the 'Merry-Go-Round' finale!

This is a movie one can watch over and over again and never tire.

Bonus material includes a silent Newsreel featuring Hitchcock.

NOTE: Surprisingly, this has not been re-mastered.

TRIVIA: Robert Walker who took the lead was to die the same year this movie was made.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nettlewine VINE VOICE on 22 Nov 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Hitchcock had had a rough time before making this little beauty. Trying to cope with making colour movies while maintaining a high standard of output while running his own production company while trying to find a replacement for Ingrid Bergman -- all of these things combined to form a 5-year waver in quality.
Strangers on a Train sees Hitchcock dump all that guff, head back to black and white, and pick up some favourite themes. The result is a lean, effective, engaging thriller.
Two strangers meet on a train, each of whom has someone they would rather get rid of. The more unbalanced of the two (Bruno, played by Robert Walker) hits on the idea that they could perform each others' murders and keep schtum -- problem solved. Trouble is, Bruno goes ahead with the idea, and expects whiter-than-white tennis ace Guy to follow suit.
Hitchcock deals with the chaotic strands of the story superbly, with some very strong themes helping to knit everything together. The criss-cross of the railway lines represent the converging storylines throughout. Walker is frightening and funny as the unhinged Bruno, with a healthy dose of camp suggesting a more primal obsession with Guy, very much in the Cape Fear mould. The theme of doubles is also carried through, with Bruno frequently presented as Guy's darker-than-dark side.
There are some excellent set-pieces, the murder of Guy's truly horrible wife being one of the best, and the climactic merry-go-round scene genuinely thrilling and convincing, even half a century on.
Great, harmful entertainment.
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