Sunday, March 22, 2015

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Two Strangers meet on a Train. One is a semi-famous tennis player, the other a semi-famous lunatic. Lunatic Bruno knows that tennis boy Guy Haines wants to divorce his troublesome wife so he can wed a senator's hottie daughter. And he himself would like to lose his overbearing father, what with him only partially funding his loonie playboy lifestyle. So Bruno hatches a plan and pitches it to Guy. Not realizing exactly how crazy he is, Guy kinda plays along. Next thing, bad wife turns up dead and Bruno feels a return favor is in order. Criss-cross.

Robert Walker (Bruno) led a troubled life himself involving erratic behavior and substance abuse. He had a bad reaction to a prescription drug when it was administered after heavy drinking, and stopped breathing. Two months after the movie's premiere, he would be dead. He was 32. And so it goes.

An important component of any film is suspension of disbelief. Everything you see (and this hold true for documentaries as well) is fake. But if you can suspend your disbelief, this does not matter. On this point I had an issue. I couldn't believe the protagonists action and the final scene at the carousel was patently ridiculous. This is a shame because it slightly spoils an otherwise excellent movie.

That said, Strangers is full of wonderful moments. One in particular features a cigarette lighter and a familiar pair of eye glasses. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it better had I not very high expectations. It is classic Hitchcock. AMRU 3.5.
"So, this is a rip off of Throw Momma from the Train?" - the wife

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