Classic Film Guide

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Given that his last four films were unsuccessful with critics and moviegoers alike (including Under Capricorn (1949) & Stage Fright (1950)), director Alfred Hitchcock needed this film which, though thin of story & convincing dialogue, helped him to reclaim his title as "the Master of Suspense". The plot involves two men, played by Farley Granger and Robert Walker (interesting casting given his previous, "light" roles), who meet on the train and discuss doing each other a favor by murdering someone in the other's life whose causing them angst. The several memorable scenes include a merry-go-round, a tense tennis match, and a lost cigarette lighter. Leo G. Carroll (who appears in SIX of Hitch's films), Ruth Roman, and the director's daughter, Patricia, are among those who also appear. The screenplay was written by Raymond Chandler (The Blue Dahlia (1946)) and Czenzi Ormonde, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith which was adapted by Whitfield Cook. The film was nominated for a B&W Cinematography Academy Award (Robert Burks's first Oscar nomination), the director received a Directors Guild of America nomination; it is listed #32 on AFI's 100 Most Heart-Pounding Movies list.

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