Bruno Anthony thinks he has the perfect plot to rid himself of his hated father and when he meets tennis player Guy Haines on a train, he thinks he's found the partner he needs to pull it off. His plan is relatively simple. Two strangers each agree to kill someone the other person wants disposed of. 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. Senator. Guy dismisses it all out of hand but Bruno goes ahead with his half of the 'bargain' and disposes of Miriam. When Guy balks, Bruno makes it quite clear that he will plant evidence to implicate Guy in her murder if he doesn't get rid of his father. Guy had also made some unfortunate statements about Miriam after she had refused him a divorce. It all leads the police to believe Guy is responsible for the murder, forcing him to deal with Bruno's mad ravings. Written by
Strangers on a Train boasts a neat central idea (the 'swapping' of murders), several classic Hitchcockian moments, and a fine performance from Robert Walker as psychotic socialite Bruno; but despite these admirable qualities the film fails to qualify as a complete success thanks to a severely flawed final act that makes one wonder what the hell Hitch was thinking.
Farley Granger's tennis-pro Guy Haines being coerced into discussing murder by charismatic lunatic Brunoall well and good. The nutter carrying out his side of the plan as discussedgreat stuff. Haines afraid to go to the police for fear of being implicated in a murderous pact with a clearly deranged Brunohey, why not? People don't always make the wisest of decisions when under pressure.
The whole ridiculous fairground finale, however, cannot be so easily brushed aside. Bruno develops telescopic arms, the police act like bumbling trigger-happy fools, and a merry-go-round achieves warp-speed before a toothless old guy confuses a self-destruct lever for the brake. It's like something out of a fever-dreamillogical, perplexing and utterly derangeda dreadful way to end what was proving to be a very enjoyable thriller.
6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?