STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
"We swap murders! Criss cross!"
This is the proposition made to tennis star Farley Granger by a neurotic fan, the brilliant Robert Walker, in Alfred Hitchcock’s film version of Patricia Highsmith’s “Strangers On a Train.”
Hitchcock always maintained that the villain had to be the most interesting character in the picture. For the role of the psychopathic Bruno Anthony, he decided to go against type and cast veteran comic actor Robert Walker, to stunning results. Walker’s Bruno is like a spoiled child, funny, cunning, naughty and lethal. It’s a bravura performance that should have led to many more, but Walker died soon after the film was completed. He surrounds his leads, Ruth Roman and Farley Granger, with an array of the best character actors in Hollywood. First, there’s Leo G. Carroll who appeared in more Hitchcock films than anyone else, Marion Lorne as Bruno’s eccentric and hilarious mother, Laura Eliot (Casey Adams) as Granger’s unfaithful wife and eventual murder victim and Hitch’s daughter Pat as the wisecracking, comic relief. The premise is fascinating, the plot twisting and the suspense unbearable. It’s summer Hitchcock at it’s best!