Strangers on the Internet for the remake? Um, too easy and why bother since this classic from Hitchcock still has the locomotion to thrill passengers of all sorts. Buy the ticket and take the ride on this “quid pro quo” suspense merry-go-round.
Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is a tennis star. His wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) is a vulgar shrew who cheats on him. Guy wants a divorce so he can marry the elegant Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), a respectable senator’s (Leo G. Carroll) daughter.
He’s on the train to finally tell Miriam of his plans for divorce when he meets Bruno Antony (Robert Walker). Bruno is very, perhaps overly, familiar with Guy and his troubles and suggests a trade off or criss-cross.
Bruno will murder Miriam and Guy will murder Bruno’s father. The two are strangers met on a train therefore they have no connection to each other, in other words the perfect crime. Guy is horrified and makes a hasty retreat, but Bruno thinks the deal is on and soon Miriam meets a strangulated end.
Now Bruno starts popping up in Guy’s life, which has no alibi thanks to the drunken witness not remembering Bruno, expecting Guy to keep up his end of the bargain or Miriam’s murder will be happily pinned on Guy.
Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t called the master of suspense for nothing. In this case he takes a cracking story by Patricia Highsmith, who didn’t know Hitch was the one buying the story, sneaky devil, or she’d have charged more, about two strangers meeting. The set-up is for the perfect murder but what happens is the perfect playground for the master of suspense.
He is aided immensely by the performances of both Granger and especially Walker. Walker is both repulsive and hard not to watch as the mad Bruno. It’s a performance for the ages and Walker’s finest.
He would only make one more film before his death. Granger also is great as the tennis pro caught up with a madman who carries out the plan and now wants his criss-cross crossed out. There are several moments of nail-biting suspense and cumulates in a merry-go-round of doom.
Bigger films (Vertigo, Psycho) may get all the press but Strangers is a chilling ride and a stellar transfer on Blu-ray.
Strangers on a Train is presented in a crisp 1080p transfer (1.37:1). Special features include the 103 minute UK Preview version of the film (sadly in standard definition), a group commentary comes from Hitchcock himself, Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, and a host of others, the 36 minute “A Hitchcock Classic” about the film’s legacy, the 7 minute “Victim’s POV” about Miriam, a 12 minute “Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan, the 11 minute “Hitchcocks on Hitch” where Hitch’s daughter and granddaughter recall the man and the film, and the 1 minute “Alfred Hitchcock’s historical meeting” in which Hitch interacts with actors portraying historical figures, and the 2 minute theatrical trailer.
Hitch is a devilish conductor that will take you on a thrill ride and Strangers on a Train certainly still has some steam. The stellar transfer only adds value to the ticket price. You certainly want to get on this Blu-ray train.
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