Strangers On A Train, 1951

An excellent Hitchcock classic; and much commented-on down through the years. I do want to dwell on a crucial aspect of the plot, and comment on a few bits of Strangers on a Train. The suspension of disbelief is hard to maintain throughout.

Why doesn’t Guy go to the police immediately after he learns that Miriam has been killed? Sure, the ‘trading murders’ scheme sounds nuts; but since he knows he’ll be under suspicion anyway, he has nothing to lose. Bruno, with his fixation on Guy and their alleged ‘deal,’ would show his hand, drawing the cops’ attention away from Guy.

Imagine the guests at the senator’s party recounting to the cops Bruno’s absurd ranting about a new source of energy, or, even more damning, his choke hold on the elderly lady. Of course, without Bruno free to slither around, then there would be little mystery, and no movie.

After just watching it again, it’s fascinating how Hitchcock uses the glasses motif to tie in the murder victim with Ann’s sister. Bruno focuses on Barbara as a haunting surrogate for Miriam. In a sense, she avenges the victim by helping to entrap Bruno. Her glasses point to the noir emphasis on reflections as a literal mirror held to the criminal side of life.

Maybe I can answer the question I began with: Guy won’t give up Bruno, because they have a bizarre bond. They’re reflections of each other, Bruno the noir Hyde to Guy’s everyday Jekyll. Tennis couldn’t be a more fitting metaphor for the sunny side of life portrayed by Guy, as opposed to Bruno’s mostly nocturnal or interior habitats.

Maybe Hitchcock’s most noir movie, and one of the better noirs made. 9/10.

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