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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> February 2001 >> Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
February 2001
IMDB Name:
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Alfred Hitchcock
crime, suspense
MPAA Rating:
PG for some violence and tension.

Perfectly Normal

There's really nothing strange about Alfred Hitchcock putting together another excellent thriller. Strangers on a Train is another one of those movies where a comparatively innocent man finds himself in over his head in a nasty predicament. That the predicament involves someone who thinks murder is easily justifiable is gravy. The plot is classic Hitchcock, and I got giddy watching him twist things around. His visual style is in evidence, as demonstrated by the lighting on the train. Just when the suspense is wearing thin, Hitchcock revives things with an exciting action sequence packed with amusing point-of-view camerawork and a surprisingly dangerous stunt.

Part of Hitchcock's talent was finding the right talent to put in front of the camera. Farley Granger reprises his role in Rope, but to better effect. Granger is more collected in Strangers, and doesn't overact. The role of the deranged Bruno falls on Robert Walker, who is able to reveal shades of madness gradually. I sensed a slight oddity when he first popped up, but he gradually turns into a character as obsessive as Bill Murray's in What About Bob? The connection is especially easy to make since they have some facial similarities. Curiously, Granger looks like Robert Downey Jr., but I don't want to give Gus Van Sant any ideas about a remake.

Consumer Note

Hitchcock and Hollywood apparently differed on some details of the final version. Although the efficacy of the movie is probably unaffected by the differences in edits, be aware that there are two versions of the movie floating around. The DVD I watched offered the "British" version and the "Hollywood" version. I opted for the British.

Copyright 2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.