My questions in bold. Melissa′s answers below.
Thanks, Melissa! My review is below!
When a famous tennis player, Guy Haines (Farley Granger), meets a nosy fan on a train, he gets sucked into conversation with the man. Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) has followed Haines’ exploits and personal life through the society pages of the newspapers. Over drinks and lunch, Antony brings up a series of crazy ideas he’s had… from driving a car blindfolded, to going to the moon. Eventually, though, he brings up an idea for the perfect murder. Two men – complete strangers – commit murders for each other. With no motive, neither would be tied to their actual crimes. And with the opportunity to create a perfect alibi, neither would be proven guilty of the murder they actually wished for.
Haines has plenty of reason to want someone murdered. His wife has cheated on him, and is pregnant with another man’s child, yet she refuses to grant him a divorce. She’s also threatening to reveal an affair he’s been having with a Senator’s daughter. Bruno, for his part, wants his domineering father killed. He wants it done so badly he’s willing to present his plan to a complete stranger.
Haines is dismissive, however. It’s just crazy talk, from a crazy man. But when Bruno carries through on his end of the bargain unbidden, Haines is caught in a precarious situation. He protests, and refuses to commit his murder. But Bruno isn’t about to give up. He’s killed a woman, and can claim that Haines put him up to it.
The question becomes can Haines get out of following through with his side of things? Or will everything unravel, and the two men get caught?
As with all Hitchcock movies, story is paramount, and suspense abounds. Bruno slowly follows Haines’ wife through a carnival before strangling her. He stalks Haines after the deed is done, and even infiltrates his social circles. The tension mounts as Bruno gets uncomfortably close to Haines and boorishly talks about murder in public. Hitchcock creates numerous anxious situations for the audience to squirm through, in the way that only he can.
The film also a number of Hitchcock’s trademark memorable shots, such as when Bruno watches Haines play tennis, and the crowds’ heads turn left and right as tennis fans will do, yet Bruno stays fixated on Haines, or when Bruno recalls the murder he committed by seeing a reflection in a woman’s glasses. He’s able to combine remarkable camera work, a perfect score, and a great story to create a nail-biting film.
I’ve yet to see a Hitchcock film I didn’t like, and “Strangers on a Train” is no exception. Hitchcock is so good, he can (and does) make a tennis match seem suspenseful. I think that “Strangers” may indeed, be one of his best, potentially top five! Thank you, Melissa, for giving me the opportunity to write it up!