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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hitchcock Month - Strangers on a Train

This review was originally posted on 2/12/10.

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Starring Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll, and Patricia Hitchcock
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
I'd rather watch lesser Hitchcock than no Hitchcock any day. There's something about his choice of stories that always win me over. The story in Strangers on a Train is excellent, but it's a shame that good ole Hitch can't seem to ratchet up the tension over the film's run.

Guy Haines (Granger) is a tennis pro who is traveling by train to his hometown to complete a divorce with his soon-to-be ex-wife. On the train, he meets Bruno Anthony (Walker) who conjures up a scheme for the perfect murder -- he could kill Guy's wife, while Guy could kill Bruno's overbearing father. Guy thinks Bruno's simply an odd duck, but when Guy's wife turns up dead and the psychotic Bruno begins stalking the tennis pro, Guy realizes he may be in trouble.

While Robert Walker is riveting as the nasty Bruno, Granger's Guy is a limp noodle, and that's part of the reason the film falls a tad flat. Additionally, with the exception of two key scenes, I never really felt any sense of tension. Hitchcock (and the screenwriters) just can't maintain a palpable sense of excitement. As someone pointed out to me, there's a scene that's played as quite a pivotal moment -- a character attempting to quickly retrieve something he's lost -- that, while dramatically tense during the moment, holds absolutely no purpose to the story. It's there simply to "create excitement" without being the least bit necessary to the plot.

Still, it's worth watching the film simply for Robert Walker's performance. While I didn't love the book either (which I read as part of my Book-a-Week quest last year), I enjoyed it a little more than this flick.

The RyMickey Rating: C


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXmbzLI3pnk

    Watch it. There's no politics and your respect for Stewart will go up a notch.

  2. Considering that there was zero respect for Stewart to begin with, it wouldn't take a lot...

  3. Just watch the damn thing. It's a damn good speech.

  4. I watched it...I kinda zoned out when he was talking about the different people in the cars, though.

    Not bad...I just don't really get the point of the rally in the first place. He kind of condemns the media (and rightfully so), but, in a way, he is contributing to the constant political media barrage.

    Politics in general are just so effed up (and I do think the media has a lot to do with it)...can't wait 'til Tuesday when I can stop seeing the ads all over tv.