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Friday, July 23, 2010

Tired Old Queen at the Movies: Strangers on a Train

Steve Hayes reviews one of Hitchcock's most hair-raising thrillers from 1951:
"We swap murders! Criss cross!"

This is the proposition made to tennis star Farley Granger by a neurotic fan, the brilliant Robert Walker, in Alfred Hitchcock's film version of Patricia Highsmith's "Strangers On a Train."

Hitchcock always maintained that the villain had to be the most interesting character in the picture. For the role of the psychopathic Bruno Anthony, he decided to go against type and cast veteran comic actor Robert Walker, to stunning results. Walker's Bruno is like a spoiled child, funny, cunning, naughty and lethal. It's a bravura performance that should have led to many more, but Walker died soon after the film was completed. He surrounds his leads, Ruth Roman and Farley Granger, with an array of the best character actors in Hollywood. First, there's Leo G. Carroll who appeared in more Hitchcock films than anyone else, Marion Lorne as Bruno's eccentric and hilarious mother, Laura Eliot (Casey Adams) as Granger's unfaithful wife and eventual murder victim and Hitch's daughter Pat as the wisecracking, comic relief. The premise is fascinating, the plot twisting and the suspense unbearable. It's summer Hitchcock at it's best!

Hitchcock's daughter Patricia - a delightful personality on or off the screen - has a small but pivotal role in this film; here she is talking about the making of the picture:

BTW, the very truckable Farley Granger, now 85, came out as bisexual in his 2007 memoir, Include Me Out, revealing a long list of affairs with men and women in Hollywood and elsewhere, including a 45-year domestic partnership with production supervisor Robert Calhoun.


dave said...

I remember as a teenagers meeting Farley Granger!

How times flies...

Russ Manley said...

You did? Cool.

M. Pierre said...

i've decided i just love Patsy Hitchcock, love this clip of her telling of her father's work (and her's). i wish her father had used her more...another example of a family "enjoying life"... even in the funniest of ways!
now.... damn wish i had been a teenager at the right time and met Farley Granger, wow! soooo cool

Russ Manley said...

mmm, wish I'd met him when we were both teenagers . . . wink.

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