60/60 Extra: Strangers On A Train.

I think I've reached that time of the month where I'm just kinda bored with the theme and am ready for something new and different. Though I'm not saying this was bad, either. Let's just get into it. Bruno (Robert Walker) seems like a nice enough guy at first, but you slowly realize he's quite the psychotic socialite when he begins chatting up pro tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). He has the crazy idea to commit the perfect murder: In order to avoid getting caught with motive, swap murders with a complete stranger. Guy blows this off at first until Bruno kills Guy's wife, Miriam (Kasey Rogers), so that he can be with his true love, Anne (Ruth Roman). Now Bruno waits, expecting Guy to knock off his father, and when that doesn't come... he starts getting a bit too obsessive.

It's funny that the next Hitchcock film I have planned to watch after seeing Horrible Bosses is Strangers on a Train. (If you haven't seen the former yet, it takes some inspiration from and even references the latter on multiple occasions.) Anyway, thankfully that didn't detract too much from seeing the film, since the overall story is much different. Still, though... I found it hard to stay focused at times.

I think a lot of that had to do with the pacing. The whole movie seems to go from interesting moment to completely dull moment way too often. It's more prevalent in the first hour, I feel. But after the damn near perfect pacing of Rear Window, this one seemed more of a let down. The build up is strange as it almost takes too long but then ends abruptly on the first kill. I totally wasn't expecting it right then (despite the fact he literally stalks her out in the open like an idiot for 10+ minutes of the film). I will say, though, that Miriam's death scene is hands down one of the best shot murder scenes I've ever seen on film. The reflection through her glasses is totally surreal and fantastic, and it's easily the best part of the entire movie.

Besides that, the best part comes from Robert Walker in the last 30-40 minutes of the movie. You know he's a bit crazy before this point, but it's here when you really start feeling uncomfortable suspense, like he can do anything whenever he wants to. There are some fantastic moments of suspense, including a part where Guy is leaving Bruno's house very slowly, since there's a bit of danger involved. I knew there was still 20 minutes left, but I honestly had no idea whether or not Guy would die--that wouldn't have surprised me with Hitchcock at all.

Overall, it was a good film with some problems here and there. I think it could have been a bit tighter, personally (but what do I know?). The symbolism of the tennis match juxtaposed against the lighter bit didn't hit me right away, but even after I got it, I felt maybe the editing could have been slightly different. By the time we reached the relatively cool climax on the merry-go-round, I had nearly lost interest in the film. Again, that's not to say it's a bad film... I just think it was a mix of things in the timing of my viewing (and I don't mean due to Horrible Bosses). I'll probably like it more in the future, but I'll just leave it as is for now.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. For the first time this month, I actually saw Hitchcock's cameo--though to be fair, it's probably been the most blatant of the bunch.)


  1. Thanks for the timely review, since I'm looking at the DVD from Netflix as I type this.

  2. I agree that it's uneven, which makes it second tier Hitchcock for me. I still think it's fantastic, but your right that parts of it drag. Still, when it is in gear, it's amazing.

    The tennis scene is one of Hitchcock's greatest film moments for me.

  3. I just noticed this month of delight you have in store! How amazing! I think Hitchcock, for one, is one of those filmmakers who, when you watch his films, you only wish he was still making films today.

  4. James: Glad to know it wasn't just me, then.

    Simon: Not really one to have "in store" considering I'm watching the last film of the month as I type this. :P

    But yes, I have caught myself wondering what would happen if he were still making films today.


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