See This: Strangers on a Train

Farley Granger seems attracted by Robert Walker's offer of murder most duplicitous in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train

 

 

Remakes are always being mooted – one far-fetched internet rumour had Ricky Gervais starring in one of them – but whatever eventually pops out, it’s unlikely to eclipse this warped 1951 original, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Patricia Highsmith, surely one of cinema’s most misanthropic couplings. Hitchcock, as book after book delights in telling us, loved torturing blondes. The lesbian Highsmith, on the other hand, loved to torture homosexuals – see The Talented Mr Ripley, for example. And it’s Highsmith who comes out on top in this thriller about two men agreeing to swap murders. Robert Walker plays Bruno Anthony, the psychotic ball of mother-love who wants his horrible father dead. Farley Granger is Guy Haines, a clean-limbed tennis pro with a wife restricting his extra-mural canoodlings. The trouble starts when psycho Bruno kills Guy’s wife and expects Guy to fulfil his end of the deal, a “deal” which Guy had thought was merely the what-if ramblings of strangers passing time on a long train journey. Spicing up this stew is the regularly suggested but never openly stated homo-erotic subtext, with mad Bruno constantly making cow eyes at rangey Guy. And there you have it, the basic steps – sex, death and guilt – for life’s never-ending tango. Irresistible.

© Steve Morrissey 2006

 

Strangers on a Train – at Amazon

 

 

 

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  • Strangers on a Train (1951) Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller | 1h 41min | 30 June 1951 (USA) 7.9
    Director: Alfred HitchcockWriters: Raymond Chandler, Czenzi OrmondeStars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth RomanSummary: Bruno Antony thinks he has the perfect plot to rid himself of his hated father, and when he meets tennis player Guy Haines on a train he thinks he's found the partner he needs to pull it off. His plan is relatively simple: Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants gone. For example, Guy could kill his father and he could get rid of Guy's wife Miriam, freeing him to marry Anne Morton, the beautiful daughter of a U.S. Senator. Guy dismisses it all out of hand, but Bruno goes ahead with his half of the "bargain" and disposes of Miriam. When Guy balks, Bruno makes it clear that he will plant evidence to implicate Guy in her murder if he doesn't get rid of his father. Guy had also made some unfortunate statements about Miriam after she had refused to divorce him. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. Written by garykmcd

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