Somehow, everybody has heard or made reference to this iconic Hitchcock movie. In a sense, Strangers on a Train has become simply a reference to the crime without homage to the film itself -or the book for that matter. It’s really quite a shame because the film is excellent.
In case you hadn’t heard, the premise of Strangers on a Train involves a plot to kill where two unrelated parties agree to commit murder on behalf of one another in an effort to alleviate each from that which would most obviously incriminate them: motive. Committing each other’s crime -and ensuring an alibi during the act- would rid each party of their enemy with limited exposure to the crime itself.
To begin, let’s me just mention, uh- every scene at the Fair! Hitchcock has the keenest sense of what is creepy. He maintains suspense without cheap graphics or overt performances, which in turn keeps his films from feeling dated. While he is not the first to use fairgrounds as the setting of an eerie crime, you can see that his influence pervaded many films to come.
Hitchcock’s keen sense of the macabre extends into casting. Bruno Anthony is a work of art in terms of a sociopath who might be considered be amiable to the naked eye, yet he arouses a sense of forebodingness in all whom cross his path. To call him a villain would be inaccurate, which is what makes his character so interesting. In one sense he is a villain, in another, an anti-hero. Meanwhile, Guy is the perfect picture of a devastatingly handsome all-star whom you cant bear to think will suffer for a crime he did not commit. Although he is not depicted as a saint by any means, he strikes the audience as someone who does all in his power to do things the “right” way. Throughout the film, Guy takes actions based on perception. He would never want to put anyone out or behave indecorously. The clash of these two characters and the intensity of the situation that grows between them is exceptional.
Strangers on a Train is a masterpiece of its kind and warrants a spot on our must-see-movies list.