Strangers on a Train is probably the most famous Alfred Hitchcock thriller people have not seen. You might think this would be The 39 Steps but the premise to Strangers on a Train is better known: two men meet on a train and decide to swap murders. This classic thriller is one of 4 Alfred Hitchcock films on the 2 DVD 4 film Turner Classic Films Hitchcock Thrillers set. The others are Suspicion, The Wrong Man, and I Confess.
The mystery credentials for Strangers on a Train are top notch. The screenplay was written in part by Raymond Chandler and is based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. The great director’s cameo is the man with the cello embarking on the train.
Farley Granger plays pro tennis player Guy Haines who wants a divorce from his wife. He meets ne’er-do-well Bruno (Robert Walker) on a train. Bruno figured out the perfect murder and shares his theory with Guy. Bruno would like someone to kill his father so he could inherit. Guy is creeped out by Bruno; Bruno believes they have a deal.
As thrillers go, this one is pretty decent but not up to par with Hitchcock’s best. This is in part because Farley Granger’s Guy comes across as blander than David Schwimmer of Friends. Also, the tennis match goes on for too long.
Still, Hitchcock really does know how to put a movie and a story together, to wit the scene in the Senator’s living room where Guy is informed of his wife’s death for the second time. The Senator’s daughter Babs is a hoot and brings an interesting twist to this movie.
The special feature on the Strangers on a Train DVD is a boring commentary by Director Peter Bogdanovich, Psycho screenwriter Joseph Stefano, Patricia Highsmith biographer Andrew Wilson, and several Hitchcock colleagues, aficionados and family members
Turner Classic Films Hitchcock Thrillers is a 2 double-sided DVD 4 film set.