Strangers on a Train
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. US. 1951. NR. 101 minutes. Warner. 35mm.
Sun., March 12, 2017
Alice Leppert, Assistant Professor of Media & Communications Studies at Ursinus, will introduce the film starting at 1:45PM.
Working from an ingenious novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley) and co-scripted by Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep), Hitchcock crafted a true masterpiece of suspense. From the first moments, when callow young tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) meets seemingly eccentric Bruno Antony (Robert Walker, in his best and most famous role) on a commuter train, we are immediately drawn into a complex web of murder and terror. Bruno makes a seemingly off-handed suggestion that they “exchange murders,” with him killing Guy’s wife in exchange for Guy murdering Bruno’s despised father. Guy thinks little of this until…Bruno kills Guy’s wife, and now expects Guy to fulfill his part of the “bargain.” This is a film filled with some of Hitchcock’s most creative and stunning cinematic moments: the murder in the midst of a crowded amusement park (shown in the reflection of the victim’s fallen glasses), the frantic scramble for an all-important cigarette lighter, and the incredible climactic battle on an out-of- control merry-go-round – a scene that will leave you breathless! This is Hitchcock at his peak. (And yes, this is the film that was the inspiration for Danny DeVito’s misbegotten 1987 comedy, Throw Mama From The Train. Don’t ask.) (Bill Roth)