The theme of doubles is "the key element in the film's structure,"[45] and Hitchcock starts right off in his title sequence making this point: there are two taxicabs, two redcaps, two pairs of feet, two sets of train rails that cross twice. To the man committed to a career in politics, Bruno represents a tempting overthrow of all responsibility. Hitchcock insists on perfection. "[36] Bruno, who tells Guy on the train that he admires people "who do things", gets a more vigorous musical treatment from Tiomkin: "Harmonic complexity defines the motifs associated with Bruno: rumbling bass, shocking clusters, and glassy string harmonics. "[19] The more the film resolved in his mind's eye, the more he knew his director of photography would play a critical role in the scenes' execution. "[60], More recent criticism is generally, though not universally, more positive. "[34], The final scene of the so-called American version of the film has Barbara and Anne Morton waiting for Guy to call on the telephone. Title: [17] Hitchcock preferred the writing credit of Whitfield Cook and Czenzi Ormonde, but Warner Bros. wanted the cachet of the Chandler name and insisted it stay on. The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock''s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life. As usual, Hitchcock kept his name out of the negotiations to keep the purchase price low. When Guy balks, Bruno makes it clear that he will plant evidence to implicate Guy in her murder if he doesn't get rid of his father. [40] He was also photographed adding the letter L to Strangers on the official studio poster for the film,[25] thus changing the word to Stranglers. Guy creeps into Bruno's father's room to warn him of his son's murderous intentions, but instead he finds the suspicious Bruno there waiting for him; the father is not at home. Miriam and the two boyfriends in her odd ménage à trois bring "The Band Played On" to life by singing it on the merry-go-round, lustily and loudly... Grinning balefully on the horse behind them, Bruno then sings it himself, making it his motto. Guy tries to persuade Bruno to seek psychiatric help; Bruno threatens to punish Guy for breaking their deal. A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people. "The Band Played On" makes its final reprise during Guy's and Bruno's fight on the merry-go-round, even itself shifting to a faster tempo and higher pitch when the policeman's bullet hits the ride operator and sends the carousel into its frenzied hyper-drive. This is a little known Hitchcock movie but I think it is one of his best. He makes an excellent suspect because of the genius of the actual killer's original plan: Two strangers will "exchange murders," each killing the person the other wants dead. A tale of innocent American tourists in Morocco whose son's kidnapping sets off a twisting plot of international intrigue. "[58], Conversely, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times criticized the film: "Mr. Hitchcock again is tossing a crazy murder story in the air and trying to con us into thinking that it will stand up without support. HITCHCOCK DIDN'T LIKE THE ENDING—EITHER OF THEM. "[12] In the novel, Guy is pursued and entrapped by a tenacious detective.[15]. His plan is relatively simple: Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants gone. It is those flaws that set up the real themes of Strangers. Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death. "[47] They also demonstrate Hitchcock's gift for deft visual storytelling: For most of the film, Bruno is the actor, Guy the reactor, and Hitchcock always shows Bruno's feet first, then Guy's. How does this change their relationship with Ron, with everyone? His plan is relatively simple: Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants gone. [8] The amusement park exteriors were shot there and at an actual Tunnel of Love at a fairground in Canoga Park, California. "The man who crawled under the out-of-control carousel was not an actor or a stuntman, but a carousel operator who volunteered for the job. Strangers on a train Before I ventured to Bodnant Gardens . Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. Strangers On A Train Hitchcock's another perfect plan for a perfect crime is wisely not a gut wrenching bloodbath but a poised and reserved act of trauma. Amateur tennis star Guy Haines wants to divorce his promiscuous wife Miriam so he can marry Anne Morton, the daughter of a US Senator. Next, Hitchcock tried to hire Ben Hecht, but learned he was unavailable. Strangers on a Train marked something of a renaissance for Hitchcock, after several years of low enthusiasm for his late-1940s output,[24] and he threw himself into the micromanagement of some of its production. I like how he inserts humor into this crime drama. Bruno is rather a child. In 1950, Alfred Hitchcock, after failing to secure Dashiell Hammett’s services, approached Chandler with the job of adapting Strangers on a Train, a debut novel by the then-unknown Patricia Highsmith. [27] Anne reaches for the big phone, but actually answers a regular one: "I did that on one take", Hitchcock explained, "by moving in on Anne so that the big phone went out of the frame as she reached for it. In the novel, Guy Haines is not a tennis player, but rather a promising architect, and he does indeed go through with the murder of Bruno's father. Guy humors Bruno by pretending to find his idea amusing, but is so eager to get away from Bruno that he carelessly leaves behind his engraved cigarette lighter, which Bruno keeps. What's the difference between the U.S. and U.K. versions of "Strangers on a Train"? "On one side of the street, [are] stately respectable houses; towering in the background, on the right of the screen, the floodlit dome of the U.S. Capitol, the life to which Guy aspires, the world of light and order. "[59] Leslie Halliwell felt that Hitchcock was "at his best" and that the film "makes superior suspense entertainment," but called the story "unsatisfactory. Realizing that Guy is not the murderer, the police ask him to come to the station the next day to tie up any loose ends. garykmcd. A carnival worker crawls underneath it and applies the brakes too abruptly, causing the carousel to violently spin off its support, trapping the mortally injured Bruno underneath. [19] The scripting team added the tennis match — and the crosscutting with Bruno's storm drain travails in Metcalf — added the cigarette lighter, the Tunnel of Love, Miriam's eyeglasses; in fact, the amusement park is only a brief setting in the novel.[19]. Although Hitchcock admitted to undercranking the shot (artificially accelerating the action),[33] it was not a trick shot: the man actually had to crawl under the spinning ride, just inches from possible injury. to get film rights for as cheap as possible. It was shot in the autumn of 1950 and released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951. So Hitchcock had an oversized phone constructed and placed in the foreground. "[52] Bruno tells Guy what he has done and gives him the glasses. Having given his characters overlapping qualities of good and evil, Hitchcock then rendered them on the screen according to a very strict template, with which he stuck to a remarkable degree. [3] Hitchcock said that he originally wanted William Holden for the Guy Haines role,[4][5] but Holden declined. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. Together the three women, working under the boss's guidance and late into most nights,[15] finished enough of the script in time to send the company East. [55] In the movie, "Guy became a decent guy who refuses to carry out his part of the crazed bargain..." writes Patrick McGilligan, "to head off the censors. [16], There was not much time though — less than three weeks until location shooting was scheduled to start in the East. Talking about the structure of the film, Hitchcock said to Truffaut, "Isn't it a fascinating design? It was not enough for Hitchcock to construct merely a world of doubles — even contrasting doubles — in a strict polar-opposite structure; for Hitchcock, the good-and-evil, darkness-and-light poles "didn't have to be mutually exclusive. "Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age." The romance was peculiar, surreal and stretched the imagination. with any force or conviction. Especially with Bruno, who held the movie together as he did the book." He has no patience with mediocrity on the set or at a dinner table. Guy had also made some unfortunate statements about Miriam after she had refused to divorce him. To amuse another guest, Bruno demonstrates how to strangle someone by playfully putting his hands around her neck. It is number 32 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills. Things are however set in motion when the psychopath … Guy, on the other hand, shows little interest in eating the lunch, apparently having given it no advance thought, in contrast to Bruno, and he merely orders what seems his routine choice, a hamburger and coffee. Mariam (Laura Elliot), the unfaithful wife is killed by Bruno, a homosexual maniac. Guy and Anne coldly walk away from him. Guy, then, in a sense connives at the murder of his wife, and the enigmatic link between him and Bruno becomes clear.[50]. Later in life, while still praising Robert Walker's performance as Bruno, she criticized the casting of Ruth Roman as Anne, Hitchcock's decision to turn Guy from an architect into a tennis player, and the fact that Guy does not murder Bruno's father as he does in the novel. In 1953, an innocent man named Christopher Emanuel "Manny" Balestrero is arrested after being mistaken for an armed robber. Strangers On A Train is a trio consisting of three major figures in the Neo-Prog world: Clive Nolan, Tracy Hitchings, and Karl Groom. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. The psychopath suggests that because they each want to "get rid" of someone, they should "exchange" murders, and that way neither will be caught. "[49], Bruno tells Guy early on that he admires him: "I certainly admire people who do things", he says. [42] First of all, she was not up there alone: flanking her were the actors playing Miriam's two boyfriends — "and I have a picture of us waving. That evening, Bruno follows Miriam to an amusement park and strangles her to death while Guy is traveling on the train back to Washington. 'Strangers on a Train' sports an almost-perfect 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer that heightens the effects of Robert Burks' stunning cinematography. Hitchcock said that correct casting saved him "a reel of storytelling time", since audiences would sense qualities in the actors that did not have to be spelled out. A retired jewel thief sets out to prove his innocence after being suspected of returning to his former occupation. Miriam informs Guy that she no longer wants to end their marriage. Ordinary Washington locations become sinister hunting grounds that mirror perfectly the creeping terror that slowly consumes Guy, as the lethally smooth Bruno relentlessly pursues him to a frenzied climax. He paid just $7500 for movie rights, or about $75,000 in 2016 dollars. The book and film together are the Trope Namer, Trope Maker, and Trope Codifier for "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder, although there's a lot more to the plot than just that one trope. A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder. And since it is Guy's foot that taps Bruno's under the table, we know Bruno has not engineered the meeting. It was Hitchcock's first film for Warner Bros. For example the small boy pointing a gun at the Bruno character at the carnival and the Bruno character popping his balloon with a lit cigarette. View production, box office, & company info. The unusual angle was a more complex proposition than it seems. There are two sets of two detectives in two cities, two little boys at the two trips to the fairground, two old men at the carousel, two boyfriends accompanying the woman about to be murdered, and two Hitchcocks in the film. The woman with the Welsh Terrier stopped. "[4], The two characters, Guy and Bruno, can be viewed as doppelgängers. These events were the background to their work, while Hitchcock, Cook, Ormonde and Keon were preparing the script for Strangers, and film scholar Robert L. Carringer has written of a political subtext to the film. This piece of film he then enlarged and projected onto a vast screen, positioning actors around and in front of it so that the effect is one of a mob of bystanders into which plaster horses and passengers are hurled in deadly chaos. "Me, I never do anything important." Overview. We hear a scream and think the deed is done when voila! A very good choice for train food. "[28], Hitchcock was, above all, the master of great visual setpieces,[31] and "[p]erhaps the most memorable sequence in Strangers on a Train is the climactic fight on a berserk carousel. "[12], Even before sewing up the rights for the novel, Hitchcock's mind was whirling with ideas about how to adapt it for the screen. For example, Guy could kill his father and he could get rid of Guy's wife Miriam, freeing him to marry Anne Morton, the beautiful daughter of a U.S. His plan is relatively simple: Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants gone. As we were not ‘strangers on a train’, the conversation naturally gravitated towards a discussion about the … (1951). "You're a free man now", he says, just as a police car drives up, looking for the husband of a certain recent murder victim. Written by "[47] And at this point the blurring of good and evil accelerates: Guy fails to repudiate Bruno's suggestive statement about murdering Miriam ("What's a life or two, Guy? And there is the comic scene at the tennis courts where the audience in unison moves there heads back and forth following the ball except for Bruno who glances straight away at the tennis player. [12] Treatment writer Cook used Guy to make the film "a parable quietly defiant of the Cold War hysteria sweeping America. The novel has been adapted multiple times, most famously by Alfred Hitchcock in his 1951 film. [6] The director found her "bristling" and "lacking in sex appeal" and said that she had been "foisted upon him. [67], Strangers on a Train was adapted for the radio program Lux Radio Theatre on two occasions: on December 3, 1951, with Ruth Roman, Frank Lovejoy, and Ray Milland, and on April 12, 1954, with Virginia Mayo, Dana Andrews, and Robert Cummings.[43]. Hitchcock wanted the phone in the foreground to dominate the shot, emphasizing the importance of the call, but the limited depth-of-field of contemporary motion picture lenses made it difficult to get both phone and women in focus. Hitchcock himself designed Bruno's lobster necktie, revealed in a close-up to have strangling lobster claws,[25] and "he personally selected an orange peel, a chewing-gum wrapper, wet leaves, and a bit of crumpled paper that were used for sewer debris"[20] in the scene where Bruno inadvertently drops Guy's lighter down the storm drain. A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder—a theory that he plans to implement. [35], Composer Dimitri Tiomkin was Jack Warner's choice to score Strangers on a Train. [8] Hitchcock had already shot the long shots for the tennis match at Forest Hills and would add closer shots with Granger and Jack Cushingham, Granger's tennis coach off-screen and Guy's tennis opponent Fred Reynolds on-screen at a tennis club in South Gate, California. [39] It is a score that "goes largely uncelebrated."[39]. [13] Talks with Dashiell Hammett got further,[11] but here too communications ultimately broke down, and Hammett never took the assignment. He told the obscure writer that the famous one hadn't written a solitary line he intended to use, and they would have to start all over on page one, using Cook's treatment as a guide. At first glance, Guy represents the ordered life where people stick to rules, while Bruno comes from the world of chaos,[48] where they get thrown out of multiple colleges for drinking and gambling. Bruno sends Guy a package containing a pistol, a house key, and a map showing the location of his father's bedroom. [6] For six days, they shot at Penn Station in New York City, at the railroad station at Danbury, Connecticut—which became Guy's hometown Metcalf—and in spots around Washington, D.C.[6]. The director told Ormonde to forget all about the book, then told her the story of the film himself, from beginning to end. Her suspicions aroused, Anne confronts Guy, who tells her the truth about Bruno's crazy scheme. Even classic endeavors like Fargo and A Simple Plan seem directly fueled by this concept..."[61], Almar Haflidason was effusive about Strangers on a Train in 2001 at the BBC website: "Hitchcock's favourite device of an ordinary man caught in an ever-tightening web of fear plunges Guy into one of the director's most fiendishly effective movies. "[45] It undergirds the whole film because it finally serves to associate the world of light, order, and vitality with the world of darkness, chaos, lunacy and death. In the casting of Anne Morton, Jack L. Warner got what he wanted when he assigned Ruth Roman to the project, over Hitchcock's objections. Strangers on a Train, of course, showcases the technical prowess and brilliant editing that are among the hallmarks of Hitchcock’s work. About The Author. "Preferences in food characterize people..." Hitchcock said. The trouble with Harry is that he is dead and, while no one really minds, everyone feels responsible. "[26], One of the most memorable single shots in the Hitchcock canon — it "is studied by film classes", says Laura Elliott, who played Miriam[27] – is her character's strangulation by Bruno on the Magic Isle. Instead of arresting Guy, the police assign an around-the-clock escort to watch him. Guy goes to the Mortons' home, where Anne's father informs Guy that his wife has been murdered. Yet both men, like so many of Hitchcock's protagonists, are insecure and uncertain of their identity. "[62], Patricia Highsmith's opinion of the film varied over time. At the same time, it was threadbare and … [8], Kasey Rogers (whose performance as Miriam is credited as Laura Elliott) noted that she had perfect vision at the time the movie was made, but Hitchcock insisted she wear the character's thick eyeglasses, even in long shots when regular glass lenses would have been undetectable. "Hitchcock raced ahead of everyone: the script, the cast, the studio... pieces of the film were dancing like electrical charges in his brain. After Harry's body is found in the woods, several locals must determine not only how and why he was killed but what to do with the body. Strangers on a Train previewed on March 5, 1951 at the Huntington Park Theatre, with Alma, Jack Warner, Whitfield Cook and Barbara Keon in the Hitchcock party[25] and it won a prize from the Screen Directors Guild. Hermione Granger is the first person to meet Harry on the Hogwarts Express, not Ron Weasley. Use the HTML below. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, Copenhagen. Guy Haines, a famous tennis player, is recognized on a train by Bruno Anthony, whose conversation shows a … How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them? For example, Guy could kill his father and he could get rid of Guy's wife Miriam, freeing him to marry Anne Morton, the beautiful daughter of a U.S. Alfred Hitchcock's cameo appearance occurs 11 minutes into the film. As shown in theaters, the film ends with … While there, the crew had done some other location scouting. Critic Jack Sullivan had kinder words for Tiomkin's score for Strangers than did biographer Spoto: "[S]o seamlessly and inevitably does it fit the picture's design that it seems like an element of Hitchcock's storyboards", he writes. As Bruno dies, his fingers open to reveal Guy's lighter in his hand. "[52], Hitchcock continues the interplay of light and dark throughout the film: Guy's bright, light tennis attire, versus "the gothic gloominess of [Bruno's] Arlington mansion";[45] the crosscutting between his game in the sunshine at Forest Hills while Bruno's arm stretches into the dark and debris of the storm drain trying to fish out the cigarette lighter;[53] even a single image where "Walker is photographed in one visually stunning shot as a malignant stain on the purity of the white-marble Jefferson Memorial, as a blot on the order of things. [3] "Granger is softer and more elusive, more convincing as he tries to slip out of Bruno's conversational web instead of flatly rejecting him. [37], Tiomkin's contrasting musical themes continued throughout the film, delineating two characters with substantial differences: "For 'Guy's Theme', Tiomkin created a hesitant, passive idea, made-to-order music for Farley Granger's performance. [15] Although Ormonde was without a formal screen credit, she did have two things in her favor: her recently published collection of short stories, Laughter From Downstairs, was attracting good notices from critics, and she was "a fair-haired beauty with long shimmering hair. She initially praised it, writing: "I am pleased in general. One studio press release gave rise to a myth that still lingers on today. Some audience feedback arriving at Jack Warner's office condemned the film for its sordid story, while just as many others were favorable. We know that Bruno plans to murder the woman and we 'see' that is why he is following her into the tunnel. [47], Roger Ebert wrote that "it is this sense of two flawed characters — one evil, one weak, with an unstated sexual tension — that makes the movie intriguing and halfway plausible, and explains how Bruno could come so close to carrying out his plan."[3]. Hitchcock's even-strained response: "Cut. Hitchcock and his cast and crew decamped for the East Coast on October 17, 1950. [10] Highsmith was quite annoyed when she later discovered who bought the rights for such a small amount. 654 likes. Walker's role has extreme color, and he projects it deftly. [20] "Low-keyed, mild mannered", Burks was "a versatile risk-taker with a penchant for moody atmosphere. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1–31 p 31 DOI: 10.1080/01439689508604551, sfn error: no target: CITEREFMcGillian2006 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFChandler2004 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFMcGillligan2004 (, Warner Bros. press release #HO9-1251, November 30, 1950, Influence on Carol Burnett's Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, "Armchair Audience: The Moving Toyshop (1946)", "The Screen In Review; 'Strangers on a Train,' Another Hitchcock Venture, Arrives at the Warner Theatre", German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Strangers_on_a_Train_(film)&oldid=1022804108, Films based on works by Patricia Highsmith, Films with screenplays by Raymond Chandler, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 12 May 2021, at 15:50. "[13] But Chandler was a notoriously difficult collaborator and the two men could not have had more different meeting styles: Hitchcock enjoyed long, rambling off-topic meetings where often the film would not even be mentioned for hours, while Chandler was strictly business and wanted to get out and get writing. The concept was a stroke of dark genius: two men, meeting on a train, agree each to commit a murder on the other’s behalf. It was shot in the autumn of 1950 and released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951. "[20] Robert Burks received the film's sole Academy Award nomination for its black and white photography.[22]. The film holds a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert has called Strangers on a Train a "first-rate thriller" that he considers one of Hitchcock's five best films. "[11] Interpersonal relations deteriorated rapidly until finally Chandler became openly combative; at one point, upon viewing Hitchcock struggling to exit from his limousine, Chandler remarked within earshot, "Look at the fat bastard trying to get out of his car! [23] Exteriors would be shot on both coasts, and interiors on Warner Brothers' soundstages. [41] Hitchcock and Patricia both were afraid of heights, and father offered daughter a hundred dollars to ride the Ferris wheel — only to order the power cut, leaving her in the dark at the very top of the ride. The murder site for it of character deal with Bruno 's mad ravings [ 55 ] far removed a. Committed to a myth that still lingers on today by keeping his name breaking. While strangling the other person wants gone, or about $ 75,000 2016... Seal of the New version of this page by month 's end, were.... '' Hitchcock said by playfully putting his hands around her neck where... 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