Strangers On A Train, starring Farley Granger, Robert Walker, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Warner Brothers, 1951
Hey, I always used to like to ride trains, passenger trains, the scenic way to travel through the hills and dale of the great American landscape. I even used to like to ride a freight car once in a while back in those old time hitchhike day when the feet got weary and a railroad track beckoned to put some miles between me and, whatever, in the search for the great American West night. But after watching the film under review, Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, Strangers On A Train, I am re-thinking that position. Maybe the private passenger car, or those weary feet are a better bet.
Here is why. Guy (played by one Farley Granger), a tennis star with marital problems is, well, accosted on an East Coast train (not by chance), by Bruno (played by Robert Walker), a rich kid with a little problem. He is psycho (before Psycho); the kind of guy who would pull the wings off a butterfly as a kid just for kicks. Beyond that, surprise, surprise our Bruno has a bigger problem, he hates his father, murderously hates his father. To cut to the chase Bruno has an idea. Criss-Cross- murders. See Bruno will take care of Guy’s marital problems quickly, and finally. Guy, as a return favor will do away with Bruno’s father. No problem.
The plot revolves around the central problem here though. Bruno did his part, no problem. But Guy, see Guy has some scruples, and has no intention in hell of doing Bruno’s bidding. The problem is that Bruno does not, how to put it kindly, know how to take no for an answer. Guy definitely did the wrong thing- he tried to welsh on the deal. Bruno is not one to be crossed. No way. That little tic, and a fateful cigarette lighter get us through this classic Hitchcock thriller. So you see where I am a little wary of making reservations on Amtrak right this minute. And also am cautious about lighting somebody’s cigarette, just in case. Or riding merry-go-rounds for that matter.