Sunday, March 5, 2023

Watch Party Watch: Strangers on a Train (1951)

this tagline is wildly misleading

Watched:  03/03/2023
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Hitchcock

Well, that was certainly a good way to get to watch a second Ruth Roman movie in a week.  

I'd been mentally abusing the watch party participants recently via my choice of movies, so it seemed like time to watch an actually good movie with the team.  And my memory of Strangers on a Train (1951) was that it was a strong film, but I couldn't remember anything after the initial train sequence but a sense of how utterly @#$%ed the guy was who was not Farley Granger (Robert Walker*).  

Hitch is the most discussed director in Western cinema, and this movie gets no small amount of ink, so I don't feel terribly compelled to weigh in.  But I will say:

  1. this movie and Shadow of a Doubt certainly share a lot in common, and I'd want to dig more into that, and how he gets from here to Psycho by 1960
  2. The cops are directly responsible for manslaughter as well as considerable chaos and danger to the public through ineptitude in the final scenes
  3. Farley Granger's character never really has a compelling reason to not tell the cops what is happening, all things considered
  4. Robert Walker is phenomenal
  5. No one much mentions the dead ex-wife other than as a plot point.  Granger doesn't head home to the funeral, he doesn't mourn her in any way.  That's maybe the most suspicious bit of all, really.  
  6. I appreciate that Ruth Roman's character is given reason to believe Granger but wasn't entirely unsure he didn't kill his wife.  
  7. Pat Hitchcock co-stars in the film, and she's actually really good.  If your career is going to be the product of nepotism, might as well shoot for the moon
Anyway, this is what thrillers are for.  If you've never seen it, recommended.

*Walker passed shortly after the making of the film, while working on a new film. His biography on imdb is grimly fascinating

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