As part of my goal to watch more films this year (which you can read about here), I decided to try and watch as many Alfred Hitchcock films as I could. Hitchcock, nicknamed ‘The Master of Suspense’, has so many classic films and had a career spanning six decades. He is often regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time and the few films of his I have already seen have been ones I have really enjoyed. Also, fun fact: Hitchcock grew up very close to where I did so I kind of want to know more about him for that reason too – a local tube station even has mosaics depicting famous scenes from his films as you walk to the ticket barriers!
So here is how my challenge is going: before I started this I had seen 5 Hitchcock films (Rebecca, Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest and The Birds). This week I watched Strangers on a Train (1951) and here is what I thought about it:
Strangers on a train
This film features: A chance meeting, Alfred Hitchcock’s daughter, a slightly hilarious/slightly absurd fight on a carousel, an incredibly intense tennis match and some strangely catchy fairground music that I am still humming three days later.
Plot Summary: When Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) and Guy Haines (Farley Granger), two complete strangers, meet on a train, Bruno Anthony has the perfect idea: “Two fellas meet accidentally; no connection between them at all never saw each other before. Each one has somebody that he’d like to get rid of…so they swap murders, criss-cross!”
Thoughts: While I haven’t seen much film-noir, I really enjoyed Strangers on a Train. There were a couple of amazing scenes – my favourite of all being a tennis match where the entire crowd are following the ball across the court and looking back and forth while Robert Walker’s character, Bruno, stares directly at the camera. There he is, directly in the middle!
Another personal favourite was the incredibly suspense-filled journey through the ‘Tunnel of Love’ to some creepy fairground music near the beginning of the film.Strangers on a Train manages to be very atmospheric and creepy while at the same time having a few humorous scenes. I must admit, I think I laughed a little bit too much at the end of the film when I’m not sure I was supposed to but all in all this was really entertaining, very well put together, interesting and so different to anything I have seen that has come out in recent years, making it incredibly refreshing to watch.
Cameo: Hitchcock’s cameo here comes at about ten minutes in as Guy Haines is getting off the train and he is getting on holding a double bass. This is one of the easier ones to spot!
Note: Apparently there is a remake of this coming out soon made by the same team responsible for Gone Girl – Ben Affleck and David Fincher. So if you want to see how Hitchcock does it, I recommend that you see it soon!
I will be watching a couple of other Hitchcock films this week and posting what I thought of them so stick around for that! I would love to know what you guys thought of this film, if you have seen it.