Strangers on a Train appears from time to time in pop culture references. In one of the first seasons of Modern Family an episode follows the plot of the film, and the film’s plot gets explained to get the story going. While I had heard of it, I never had a want or a need to watch. Recently, I took an on-line class, TCM Presents The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock. There was quite the lesson on this film, so I decided to give it a try. Well dear readers, I tried it, and I liked it. There’s so much going on in the film with plenty of suspense from the master Alfred Hitchcock. He directs a thrilling, suspenseful piece, and the heart of the film is a heel you love to hate.
Robert Walker’s portrayal of Bruno Antony sets the stage, drives the story, and steals the scenes. Every last one. He’s rich, devilish, treacherous, and has ice in his heart pumping through his veins. He’s got a psychotic serial killer mentality of being able to blend in with society while being criminally insane, though a time or two he snaps under the public eye. I don’t think the film would have been as enjoyable, or had the same suspenseful impact without him. Well, Robert Mitchum could have done it, but then his name would have overshadowed the film. In contrast, Farley Granger’s Guy Haines never struck me as a worthy adversary. I didn’t want to see Haines victorious so much as I wanted to see Antony get what he had coming to him.
Hitchcock delivered the goods with Strangers on a Train. The original tale is a novel by Patricia Highsmith. Whitfield Cook adapted the novel, and Raymond Chandler and Czeni Ormonde get screen play writing credits. Of course, Hitchcock was present during the writing process. He also makes his trademark cameo early in the film. The opening scene is classic Hitchcock, and classic Hollywood cinema. We see the two foes, in a matter of speaking, but we don’t meet them until the pivotal point when they meet each other for the first time.
I enjoyed Strangers on a Train a lot more than I thought. I’m not sure if I’ll ever watch it again, and I don’t know if I’ll add it to my film collection. That said, it’s a worthy film I’m glad I watched, and you should watch it too.
Copyright © Drew Martin 2017