Alfred Hitchcock’s tale of doubles, murder, light and dark, Strangers on a Train is a film with a lot of deep and hidden subtext which sits underneath a nicely woven story. Amateur tennis player and wannabe Politician Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is on a train when he meets a chatty and confident man named Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker). Bruno recognises the tennis ace and begins talking about stories of Guy’s private life that he has read about in the newspapers. Guy is uncomfortable but humours the strange man who soon begins to talk of murder and how they could pull off the perfect murder by each murdering the other’s problem person. Guy is on the way to speak with his wife about a divorce and Bruno suggests murder. A few days later Guy’s wife is found murdered and Guy is stalked by the shady Bruno who says that it is Guy’s turn to commit the crime.
Strangers on a Train is far from my favourite Hitchcock film but it features some stunning cinematography and a vast array of visual motifs which help to spell out the plot and themes. The performance of Robert Walker is also noteworthy but I rarely felt fully engaged with the story. It is perhaps a movie that would benefit from a second viewing but like pretty much all of Hitchcock’s movies is still worth watching.