#FilmyFlashback: Stangers On A Train

Every film has a hero. Not the main actor, but the person who finally takes a piece of script, and turns it into a stunning piece of work. It can be the cameraman, the visual effects guy, the actors or the director. The hero of Strangers On A Train is its director, Alfred Hitchcock. His genius can be seen in his ability to visualize the scene better than anyone can. 

Strangers On A Train is a noir crime thriller that follows the story of a chanced meeting between two strangers.  Guy Haines (Farley Granger) the dashing Tennis star and Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker). Guy is stuck in a rotten marriage to a promiscuous woman Miriam (Laura Elliott), and wants to leave to go to his fiance Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), the daughter of a Senator. Bruno is psychopath who wants his father gone. Bruno suggests the perfect plan to get out of their predicament without getting caught. He suggests they exchange their murders. Guy is amused by this too-close-for-comfort, peculiar man. He indulges him in an effort to get out of the situation. Bruno assumes this as an affirmative, and goes ahead and kills Guy’s wife. Guy finds himself in a fix as Bruno threatens to pin the murder on him if he doesn’t keep the end of his bargain – a bargain that he never intended to get into. At this point, we start to wonder if the meeting on the train was a chanced meeting at all. 

The story is gripping and manages to hold our interest. Even though the film has a singular plot, the complex character of Bruno makes you want to pity the degenerate man and detest him at the same time. Farley Granger does a convincing job as the suave and smart athlete. He is perfect in the train scene when he manages to squirm under the sexual tension that Bruno’s proximity generates. Ruth Roman is elegant and convincing as the woman of the 1950s. We see Patricia Hitchcock play Barbara Morton, Anne’s sister. She gives us some intriguing moments. The director, Alfred Hitchcock himself, makes a cameo in the film. 

Although not his best, Strangers On A Train is one of the finest works done by the master filmmaker. Definitely worth watching. 

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