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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's Best!
"Strangers On A Train" should be rated as Hitchcock's absolute best.
To begin with, it features a perfect performance by Robert Walker, an actor who would be dead within a year after making this great movie.
Walker had previously played some wonderful roles, but he astounded the world with his acting ability once "Strangers On A Train" was...
Published on August 14, 1999 by

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The follies of censorship...
I'm going to yell SPOILERS right off the bat, just in case anyone deems my breakdown of this film to be ruining the surprise for anyone.

I want to say that when I first saw this movie I really loved it; in fact it was my favorite Hitchcock film at the time. I thought that it was suspenseful and chilling and hit all the right notes. Sadly, I was so enthralled...
Published on November 10, 2008 by Andrew Ellington

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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock's Best!, August 14, 1999
By (Philadelphia, PA, USA) - See all my reviews
"Strangers On A Train" should be rated as Hitchcock's absolute best.
To begin with, it features a perfect performance by Robert Walker, an actor who would be dead within a year after making this great movie.
Walker had previously played some wonderful roles, but he astounded the world with his acting ability once "Strangers On A Train" was released.
Aside from Walker's amazing performance, "Strangers On A Train" is full of half-hidden meanings which relate to the dual personality each of us possesses.
Hitchcock was a true genius, who not only understood both the dark and the bright sides of the human psyche, but who also knew how to depict that understanding by way of film.
I have watched "Strangers On A Train" a dozen or more times, and never tire of watching it yet again, each time finding something new that I had not noticed the time I watched it before.
But, the main reason I watch this film so often is to enjoy the exceptional , perfect performance by Robert Walker. Walker was only in his 30s when he died. He was a tragic figure in real life. He died much too soon, and we are very fortunate to be able to observe his wonderful talent, preserved in this movie, almost fifty years after his passing.
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101 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock on the right track, July 11, 2000
Edward (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
"Strangers on a Train" is that rarity, an Alfred Hitchcock film concerning which one talks about an actor's performance almost as much as the director's. The actor, of course, is Robert Walker, presenting his remarkable portrayal of Bruno Anthony, the rich, unstable man who offers the hero Guy Haines a deadly proposition: he'll kill Guy's wife Miriam (played by the interesting Laura Elliott) if Guy will kill Bruno's father. Because they are strangers on a train who do not know their intended victims, there will be no motives, therefore perfect alibis. Guy doesn't take Bruno seriously, which turns out to be a fatal mistake. Bruno is a complicated part. Although he is obssessed with his own superiority, he can be incredibly petty (popping a little boy's balloon just for the meanness of it), not to mention prissy ("I'm afraid I don't know what a `smoocher' is!"). The character seems to overshadow the entire movie, which is appropriate, because Bruno casts a shadow over the easy, affluent world in which he lives. When he crashes the senator's cocktail party, it's like Satan has arrived, striding through polite society. And, no, Walker was not nominated for an Oscar. Neither was Joseph Cotten for "Shadow of a Doubt". Neither was Anthony Perkins for "Psycho". The Academy evidently had difficulty with Hitchcock's anti-heroes. Hitchcock originally wanted William Holden for the role of Guy Haines, but I think Holden was so savvy and macho, it would have been difficult to accept him as a psycopath's pawn. Farley Granger is atheletic enough to be convincing as a tennis champ, but he has a boyishness which makes the vulnerable aspects of the character believable. The film is filled with the touches one associates with Hitchcock. Some are obvious, like Miriam's strangulation reflected in her eyeglasses. Others are more subtle: After the murder, Bruno approaches Guy outside Guy's apartment house. At first Guy cannot tell who is calling his name in the dark. Bruno is standing near a large gate with wrought-iron bars; and, as Guy comes near him, he steps behind the gate -- in other words, he's behind bars. Then, after he has told Guy about Miriam's death and Guy is absorbing the shock, a police car pulls up in front of Guy's apartment house and Guy himself ducks behind the gate. Now they're BOTH behind bars. Hitchcock was a genius, no doubt about it.I wonder how many viewers have noticed the odd discrepency near the end. Bruno has stepped off the train at Metcalf, holding the incriminating cigarette lighter he hopes to plant on the amusement park island, thus framing Guy. A pedestrian brushes by him and the lighter falls into a storm drain in the street. Bruno, frantic, tries to enlist the aid of passersby. However, he says (not once but twice) "I dropped my cigarette CASE in the drain!" Walker, of course, was in the process of drinking himself to death; but the mistake could easily have been corrected with a little dubbing. It's bothered me for years why it wasn't.Director of Photography Robert Burks began his long association with Hitchcock on this picture. He must have worked night and day to satisfy Hitchcock's demands, but his loveliest effect is the amusement park's neon lights against a glowing black-and-white sunset.The film's mood is enhanced by Dimitri Tiomkin's romantically mysterious score. It's particularly striking in the movie's"coda" when Guy is trying desperately to finish a tennis game (allegro) and Bruno is desperately trying to reach that damn lighter (adagio). Hitchcock and Tiomkin worked a couple of more times together but never more effectively than in thisdazzling masterpiece.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic movie! Blu-ray is the same as the 2004 DVD, better than 1997 DVD., November 1, 2012
***** = Movie
**** = Blu-ray presentation (because "Preview" version is in Standard Definition.)
This new Blu-ray disc appears to be the same as the 2004 Remastered DVD (orange cover), which was a substantial improvement over the 1997 grainy DVD (blue cover).
So basically if you already have the 2004 Remastered DVD there is little reason to re-buy this on Blu-ray, but it is a must-have if you have the original 1997 grainy DVD.

The increased storage capacity of Blu-ray discs allows both the "final" and "preview" versions of the movie to appear on one disc. HOWEVER, the "preview" version is NOT IN HD, it and all of the documentaries (which are the same as on the old DVDs) are in STANDARD DEFINITION and accessed through the "bonus" button. Not a lot of extra effort was put into this Blu-ray release by Warner Brothers Home Video, no new bonuses.

The 1080p resolution of the "final release" version allows for a little more detail in the pinstripe jackets and night time scenery, even a little better than the 2004 Remastered DVD, but it may not be enough to recommend this for an upgrade unless you own a large screen HD-TV.

Although the "preview" version is only in Standard Definition, it will look a little better if only because of no DVD compression. On most standard size HD-TVs it will look the same.

The story is classic Hitchcock, two strangers who have someone they don't like meet on a train, one gets a wild morbid idea on how to solve their problems. Do they get away with it?
Outside of the "eyeglasses" and "Love Tunnel" scenes, visually this film does not have the Hitchcock style, the camera set-ups seem to be pretty standard. It looks nice but not memorable. One strange shot in a museum has the background flickering as if it was a rear-screen projection where the projector was out of sync with the camera. It is odd that a perfectionist like Hitchcock would let this error get by.

Hitchcock's daughter Pat gets a substantial part in this movie as the mistress' sister.
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204 of 250 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen vs. 35mm for Strangers on a Train, January 21, 2000
David Kusumoto (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Strangers on a Train (DVD)
It's important to note two things about this edition of "Strangers on a Train." First off, the description on's page is incorrect. This DVD is not in widescreen. The second thing is, to you widescreen buffs out there (including myself) -- Relax! This film was never shot in widescreen. In fact, prior to 1953 (The Robe), there was never anything bigger than 35mm! This is why this film (and you'll be surprised to hear), many, many classic films will never be produced in widescreen. They don't exist. You should buy this DVD because of the video quality and the extra "goodies." Gone with the Wind in widescreen? Nope, never was, even though it was blown up to 70mm and cropped horribly in the 1968 re-issue. What's out there on DVD on Gone with the Wind is standard 35mm "TV semi-square" framing, because that's the way it was shot. Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Citizen Kane? Nope, never shot in anything greater than 35mm. It's a Wonderful Life? No again. Widescreen is limited to theatrical films issued for the most part, after 1953, when competition with television forced studios to come up with the "panoramic" gimmicks to bring people back into the theaters. This is period (1953-1963) when Cinemascope, Todd-AO, VistaVision, Super Panavision 70 and other widescreen formats were born -- and the most extreme example was Cinerama, which used three cameras and is used to best effect in the DVD version of How the West Was Won. So don't fret, this DVD is good, crisp and clean and formatted as Alfred Hitchcock intended! Tomorrow's movies will be in IMAX (see Fantasia 2000, in selected theaters now).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch's first in a stream of classic films, September 10, 2004
This review is from: Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Although there's no doubt that Hitchcock directed a number of classic films before "Strangers on a Train", it seemed as if this film somehow liberated him in some way. After "Strangers" he directed a string of classic films which have rarely been surpassed. The themes that always sprinkled his best work come to the fore in this terrific film. Although the narrative and the film has some minor flaws, they're easy to overlook given the power of this marvelous motion picture.


Warner has done a nice job of transferring this film to Blu-ray. The film looks exceptionally good with a crisp, sharp transfer. The Blu transfer sports strong blacks. The film has very consistent grain except for a few scenes where it's clear that they might have had to use a different source and where grain is a bit rougher compared to most of the film. This happens in only a couple of brief sequences but, on the whole, the film looks marvelous. I didn't detect any use of edge enhancement.

Audio sounds quite strong with a very nice lossless mono track with dialogue close and clear.

Unfortunately the alternate cut of the film (an early preview version that was prepared for the UK but, evidently, was never shown) is presented in standard definition. A high def transfer of the alternate version could have been prepared for this edition. I'm unclear as to why a high def version wasn't included of this although it's a minor point (for others it might be a major issue).

The carried ove special features are in standard definition.

The Blu-ray is Recommended although a high def transfer of the alternate cut would have been appreciated.


Guy Haines (Farley Granger)a tennis pro wants a divorce from his gold digging wife Miriam(Laura Elliot aka Kasey Rogers). Turns out she doesn't want a divorce anymore now that Guy has a socialite girlfriend (Ruth Roman)who is the daughter of a prominent senator. Miriam (curiously, also the name of Janet Leigh's character in "Psycho")is pregnant with another man's child and wants as much as possible from Guy. On the train back to Washington D.C. guy meets Bruno Antony (the marvelous Robert Walker)a psychopathic killer in the making. Bruno engages Guy in conversation and Guy tells him about his wife. Bruno suggests that he can come up with the perfect murder; they swap murders and, since they don't really know each other, the police will not be able to connect the murders to them. Guy humors Bruno thinking nothing of it. Until Bruno follows through on his part of the "bargain" in a brilliant, stunning sequence reflected in the glasses of the victim. Now Bruno is stalking Guy insisting that he complete his part of the bargain.


This deluxe two disc edition improves on the previous single disc dual sided edition of a couple of years ago. This set includes both the theatrical release and the preview release (mistakenly referred to as the "British" release on the previous edition). We also get a number of terrific extras on this two disc set including 4 short documentaries and an extra carried over from the previous edition of Hitchcock promoting "Strangers on a Train" with some local performers dressed in colonial costumes. Although this section has no sound and has no titles explain the action (it is explained on the previous edition however), it's a fascinating glimpse into the past. We hear about the Hitchcocks from their daughter and granddaughters. We also hear about the making of the film from Robert Walker's son, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, film critic Richard Schickel and others. The only short I felt was a waste of time was comments from director M. Night Shyamalan who sounds a bit like a drolling film student here. That would be OK but he doesn't make any observations that amount to anything.

The first disc contains the original theatrical version with a commentary track by "Psycho" and "The Outer Limits" screenwriter Josephn Stefano, director Peter Bogdanovich, Patricia Highsmith biographer Andrew Wilson, various cast family members and Hitchcock himself from an interview. The film has never looked so great before on DVD. The previous edition looked good but had signficant grain problems, analog artifacts and had a picture that tended on the soft side. The picture here is sharper with better clarity and richer blacks, whites and grays than the single disc edition.

Disc two contains all the extras plus the preview version which has a couple of minutes that were cut from the final version. In this version there's a bit more interplay between Bruno and Guy "suggesting" that Bruno is gay. Again, the picture here is a marked improvement for similar reasons. Evidently when Jack Warner saw Hitchcock's preview version, he agreed with the original ending that Hitchcock had in mind.

A great movie just got greater and the fact that this is in a plastic amray case vs. the cardboard snapcases is a marked improvement. Highly recommended for both Hitchcock fans and those interested in learning about the master of suspense.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock and Highsmith Together Make Brilliantly Twisted Suspense., August 16, 2011
This review is from: Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
Viewers of "Strangers on a Train" must be forgiven for wondering just what kind of movie it is as they watch the opening sequence. A man with flashy shoes, followed by a man with sensible shoes, board a train, to Dmitri Tiompkin's overbearing score. It's only overbearing in that first scene, as the movie opens with an in-your-face visual and auditory punch. "Strangers on a Train" was Patricia Highsmith's first novel, and there has never been a director better suited to adapting it than Alfred Hitchcock. The master of suspense directed only a few films with noir themes, and this is his best. It will appeal to both fans of film noir and of suspense and, for that matter, train movies.

Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is a rising tennis pro who hopes to marry a senator's daughter, if his vicious first wife will grant him a divorce. En route to Washington DC, he bumps into a voluble fan, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), the ne'er-do-well son of a wealthy man who doesn't like him very much. Bruno is a little too friendly. He comments on Guy's personal life, based on gossip he's read in the papers. He insists that Guy have lunch in his cabin. And he never stops talking. Bruno has an idea for a perfect murder. Two strangers meet accidentally and switch murders, so neither can be connected to his crime. He suggests that Guy could kill his father if Bruno killed Guy's wife.

Guy thinks it's idle talk -until his wife Miriam (Kasey Rogers) is strangled to death, and Bruno takes credit. Bruno now expects that Guy will reciprocate. The police suspect Guy in Miriam's death, because his alibi was too drunk to remember him, so they've put a tail on him. And he's being stalked by a psychopathic killer who thinks Guy has betrayed him. Even his fiancée Ann (Ruth Roman) is getting suspicious of his behavior. The suspense is extended over most of the film's hour and 40 minutes. How can Guy get out of this mess? Will he be found out? How do you explain a guy who has traded murders with you without permission?

It's a great extended suspense, but Hitchcock's real trick is in his villains. Miriam is the wife from hell: mendacious, manipulative, gold-digging, slutty, and thoroughly despicable. No one in the audience cares if she dies -though she's so bad that it might have been fun to watch her plow a path of destruction. Bruno is unstable, sociopathic, but with a certain obsessive charm and flamboyant style that almost endears him to the audience. We want to see him in action more than we want to see Guy escape his trap. Hitchcock has somehow roped us into rooting with the bad guys. He's made us into perverts. Credit is due Robert Walker and Kasey Rogers for these terrific performances as well.

The DVDs (Warner 2004 2-Disc Special Edition): Disc 1 contains the theatrical version of the film, a theatrical trailer (2 ˝ min), and an audio commentary. The commentary is hosted by Laurent Bouzereau and features clips from various commentators, recorded separately and edited together, including some archival audio of Alfred Hitchcock from 1963. The most prominent is Patricia Highsmith biographer Andrew Wilson, who talks a lot about the book and its themes. Other guests include film historians Richard Schickel and Robert Osborne, screenwriter Whitfield Cook, "Psycho" screenwriter Joseph Stefano, actress Kasey Rogers, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, and more. The commentary is informative and interesting as far as it goes, but it is more about the adaptation and themes than about the film itself. There are no scene-by-scene analysis or comments on visual style, though some actors offer recollections of filming. Subtitles are available for the film in English, French, Spanish. Dubbing is available in French.

Disc 2 contains a unrestored preview version of the film (1 hr 43 min) and 5 featurettes produced by Laurent Bouzereau. "Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic" (36 min) is a good general documentary. It discusses themes, characters, difficulties with the adaptation, actors, and score in interviews with Peter Bogdanovich, author of "Hitchcock at work" Bill Krohn, Highsmith biographer Andrew Wilson, film historians Richard Schickel and Robert Osborne, Farley Granger, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, Robert Walker, Jr., and others. "The Victim's POV" (7 min) interviews actress Kasey Rogers AKA Laura Elliot about her role as Miriam. In "The Hitchcocks on Hitch" (11 min), the director's daughter Patricia and 3 granddaughters Mary Stone, Tere Carrubba, and Katie Fiala share their recollections of Alfred Hitchcock. In "An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan" (12 min), Shyamalan talks about his admiration for the film, specifically the character of Bruno, the murder scene, and the merry-go-round climax. "Alfred Hitchcock's Historical Meeting" (1 min) is soundless. Subtitles are available for the film in English, Spanish, and French.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Thrillers of All Time: Hitchcock Presents Highsmith!, October 16, 2005
Daniel R. Sanderman (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is a wonderful thriller. I am always amazed at the amount of suspense and tension that Hitchcock is able to create in each of his movies. What passes for "thrillers" these days has none of the heart or excitement of his films and this picture is one of his best. Moreover, if you enjoy Patricia Highsmith's novels (or the films that have been made from them), you will love this film. Highsmith seems to have a flair for giving us extremely creepy, psychopathic murderers. Yet, at the same time, she manages to breathe life into Bruno Anthony (played by Robert Walker). Of course, he is an amoral, calculating murderer (as many of her villains are), yet we come to sympathize with him in strange ways. Regarding the "homoerotic" content of his performance, I agree with other reviewers who say that it is so subtle as to be completely negligible: one could either chalk up his behavior to homoerotic feelings he has for Guy, or you could simply pass it off as the deranged actions of a mad man. In any case, while it may add depth to his character, it is certainly not necessary for delving into this film (or enjoying it).

The plot is rather simple: two strangers meet on a train and one of them casually proposes that they each "swap" murders. Neither of them would have a motive for killing each other's "nuisance" and it would solve both of their problems. The only trouble is, only one of the strangers is a psychopath with any murderous intentions. When Bruno completes his end of the "bargain," he leaves Guy in a tough spot: since Guy is the only one with a motive it appears that Guy himself is guilty of the crime. The rest of the film is a game of cat & mouse between Bruno and Guy and the storytelling is absolutely phenomenal.

As always, Hitchcock is at the top of his game. I found myself just marveling at the angles and the composition in this film. His use of lighting (and, of course, the absence of lighting) is absolutely perfect. Hitchcock could tell an entire story just with his choice of lighting and shadows. There is also the famous "tennis" shot, in which the entire audience is flipping their heads back and forth, keeping up with the game. All of the heads, that is, except for one: Bruno's. His steady gaze is fixed upon Guy's position, burning a hole in his chest. It is absolutely perfect.

As you can probably tell, I'm a big fan of Hitchcock. But even if you are not a huge fan, I think you owe it to yourself to see STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. It is widely regarded as one of his best films and it should have a broad appeal. One word to the wise: make sure you buy a good transfer of this film (such as this set). Many of Hitchcock's films have been horribly transferred onto cheaper DVD's (and it shows).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HITCHCOCK NO STRANGER TO STELLAR SUSPENSE, August 29, 2004
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
"Strangers on a Train" (1951) is often credited as beginning Hitchcock's second renaissance in Hollywood film making. After terminating his relationship with formidable producer, David O. Selznick, Hitch drifted into several undistinguished independent productions and a series of thrillers that, although solid box office, in hindsight seemed to lack in originality or staying power. "Strangers" was the exception to this tenure, launching the master of suspense on an uninterupted string of chilling cinema classics. It's a diabolical struggle of wills between the seemingly congenial tennis pro, Guy Haines (Farley Granger) and his sycophantic admirer, Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker). When the two accidentally meet on a west bound train they exchange intriguing ideas on how to commit the perfect murder. Just one problem; Bruno takes the game seriously, murdering Guy's pregnant wife, Miriam (Kasey Rogers) in what is perhaps Hitchcock's most terrifying cinematic example of strangulation. After flirting with Miriam (a woman of easy virtue) Bruno lures her to a secluded island at an amusement park. The reflection of Miriam's silent demise is captured in a reflection inside her horn-rimmed glasses. As pay back, Bruno instructs Guy to kill his father. The suggestion does not go over well. However, trapped by the fact that Guy's new girlfriend, Anne Morton (Ruth Roman) and her family have met Bruno and believe him to be a close friend, the plot slowly spirals into a delicate web of deception, wherein both Anne and her sister, Barbara (Patricia Hitchcock) slowly begin to suspect that perhaps Guy is not nearly as innocent as he pretends to be. This is decidedly a high water mark in Hitchcock's tenure, capped off by a visceral climax aboard a careening carousel.

Previously this film was made available as a flipper disc containing both the U.S. and British versions of the film. Warner's new 2-disc edition contains both versions, both digitally remastered for improved picture quality, plus a host of extra features. The gray scale is impeccably balanced with deep, rich and solid blacks and very clean whites. While the previously issued disc contained moments where the image appeared to suffer from an overly soft characteristic, this newly minted DVD exhibits a very sharp image throughout. Fine detail is fully realized. There's a complete lack of age related artifacts or digital anomalies for a picture that will surely NOT disappoint! The audio is mono but equally impressive and very nicely restored. A very comprehensive documentary accompanies this disc as well as several news reel items and the theatrical trailer.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The follies of censorship..., November 10, 2008
Andrew Ellington (I'm kind of everywhere) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strangers on a Train (DVD)
I'm going to yell SPOILERS right off the bat, just in case anyone deems my breakdown of this film to be ruining the surprise for anyone.

I want to say that when I first saw this movie I really loved it; in fact it was my favorite Hitchcock film at the time. I thought that it was suspenseful and chilling and hit all the right notes. Sadly, I was so enthralled with the film that I decided to seek out the novel, written by Patricia Highsmith. Once I read the novel my opinion of the film was drastically altered and I had to watch the film yet again. The second viewing was far inferior to the first, for I realized that Hitchcock had not presented an accurate and respectful representation of Highsmith's novel.

Now I have raised kain with regard to film adaptations before (see my ranting on the film `Less than Zero' and `American Psycho' for starters) and I have mentioned before that a director can take liberties with a novel as long as they stay true to the intentions of the author. Once you shift the focus too much (`Less than Zero' is probably the strongest example of a director getting everything wrong) you lose the authors vision. Many could look at this statement and say "then why did you give a film like `The Shining' such a high rating?" Well, the answer (as I mentioned in my review of the film) is that Kubrick created his very own vision, while still staying true to King's vision. Sure, he altered events, at times even drastically, but there is no denying that it was King's source material.

That brings me to `Strangers on a Train'. There are many alterations made within this film, liberties taken that drastically shift the intentions of Highsmith's vastly superior novel. Some of the changes are subtle and seemingly `no big deal', but in the big picture they become a very big deal.

The first change I noticed came in the form of Guy's occupation. In the novel he is an architect, but in the film he is a tennis player. He is famous, widely known and successful. In the novel he is just starting to spread his wings. It may seem like nothing big really, and in the beginning Hitchcock handles it well (he may have used a celebrity status to make it easier to fall into conversation with Bruno) but as the film progresses some of the major plot points, that made more sense when Guy was `not so well known', seem to get jumbled. The fact that Bruno blackmails Guy into following through with their `plan' is much more believable when you consider Guy's situation within the novel. He is dependant on the divorce and his wife's separation from his name and so her murder is much more necessary and the fear of losing everything he's been working so hard for, including his newfound relationship, takes on a person all its own. His celebrity status in the film dampens this a bit because there is really no fear of failure; he seems impenetrable really.

The next change was much more noticeable to those who have read the novel, and that is the `relationship' between Guy and Bruno. In the novel it is very obvious that Bruno is in love with Guy, and his actions, as disturbing as they are, are really a way for him to get near to him. It's reminiscent of the way Tom Ripley attached himself to Dickey Greenleaf in `The Talented Mr. Ripley'; using savagery as a sense of companionship. Hitchcock did try and incorporate this into the film but censorship laws prohibited this and forced Hitchcock to make alterations to his film that left this facet of the story out completely. This is sad, because this seemingly small detail adds so many layers to the story.

The biggest and most noticeable change was (here's the big SPOILER) the decision to have Guy back out of his end of the bargain. In the novel Guy attempts to go through with the murder, but here he completely backs out. That change alters the entire ending of the film, throwing Bruno and Guy into a battle of wits as they turn on one another. The novel's handling of their relationship is far more gratifying than the one Hitchcock concocted. I should have know that Hitchcock would not have wanted to keep Highsmith's original ending, for it just does not feel like something the master of suspense would want to do, but I wish he had, for his talent would have really done something special with Highsmith's intelligent conclusion.

Okay, so this is my critique of the films construction.

But there is more.

The acting is, for the most part, very good and so it does elevate the film for me. In fact, the only sore spot in my opinion was Farley Granger who played Guy. I felt that he was a little too stiff for the part and lacked any real emotional impact. Robert Walker was flawless as Bruno, and I hear that his performance is even greater in the uncut version for he is allowed to devour the character to a fuller degree. Ruth Roman and Kasey Rogers have great scene stealing turns here as the two women in Guy's life, and Marion Lorne adds a few layers to Bruno's character as she eats up her portrayal of Bruno's mother.

Sadly, the film does not live up to its source material. The fact remains that as a thriller and as a Hitchcock film it is actually really good, but when you compare it to Highsmith's novel (which I can't help but do now that I have read it) it falls short.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock at his best!, August 6, 1999
One of my favorite Hitchcock flicks! I first saw this film in a theatre about 20 years ago- and I was astounded. The glorious black and white cinematography, Warner Brothers trademark bombastic bass sound, Tiompkin's thrilling soundtrack music- it just knocked my socks off. Upon successive viewings I found more and more nuggets of meaning buried in the movie. The theme of doubles is everywhere, represented as either opposites or "twins":
Bruno and Guy / Bruno's wife and girlfriend / Bruno's father and Guy's future father-in-law / Tennis racket and cigarette lighter / Guy's wife and look-alike Pat Hitchcock / The two pairs of shoes at the beginning / The sets of railroad tracks / The pairs of glasses / Guy's fiance and Bruno's mother /
There are so many different "romances"/fascinations presented in this movie that one wonders if any of the characters is truly well-adjusted (with the exception of Leo G. Carroll). Consider:
Bruno and his mother: Oedipal / Bruno and Guy: Love/hate / Bruno and "Dear old Dad": Definitely hate / Bruno and Pat Hitchcock: ? / Guy and his wife / Guy and his fiance: Masochistic (just kidding) / Bruno's short "courtship" of Guy's wife /
Dark humor lurks everwhere:
The lobster on Bruno's tie / The title's of the carousel songs playing in the background / The name on the side of Bruno's boat at the park / Constant references to the "appetite" Guy's wife has (on her "last night out") / Bruno's comments to the judge (at the party)
This is a film that should be required viewing for anyone who considers themself a serious student of the art of film. If you haven't seen "Strangers On A Train", do yourself a favor and rent it now! Be prepared to watch it several times to catch everything that's happening "behind the scenes". "Bruno is a very clever fellow." Indeed!
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Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Strangers on a Train (Two-Disc Special Edition) by Alfred Hitchcock (DVD - 2004)
$26.99 $7.72
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