To start off, I should first state that, for the most part, most of Alfred Hitchcocks films are uniformly excellent by any standards. What sets Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, North By Northwest and say, perhaps, Shadow Of A Doubt apart from the rest of his films is best described in one word, cleaverness. In fact the phrase, "He was a cleaver fellow" is mentioned in another very cleaver film, Strangers On A Train. An early 50's masterpiece that has stood the test of time and continues to enthrall viewers. The final carney sequence is probably studied by more film schoolers than any scene from any well constucted film. The real genius here is how the story builds starting with a chance meeting between two strangers. Bruno Anthony (with robust flair deceptive motivation) is played by Robert Walker. He meets up with top seated tennis player, Guy Haines (Farley Granger).Both of them have the same problems in common; there are people in their lives that must die. Now, in todays day in age of murder and mayhem in film, a simple clean strangulation like the one perpetrated by_____, may not come off as satisfying enough to the blood thirsy viewer. However, Hitchcock uses the camera lens and inventive ways of showing the process of murder. Unlike Sam Peckinpah who would make sure you felt every aspect of the killing, Hitch uses shadow and light, with the help of a pair of bifocals.
The acting is great. Pat Hitchcock has her greatest screen role in this one and does a good job. Along with Psycho, this is one of only two films in which Alfred's daughter had a part. The part she plays here is a supporting role that is more prominent than the one in Psycho where she plays Marion Cranes co-worker at the bank.
From the very interesting concept used in the opening of the film to the spectacular ending, this is a film not to be missed.
The re-release version includes the full length British release version included in the original SOAT dvd. The commentary is great and the transfer itself is excellent. I appreciated a bit of the film grain included in the original Warner Brothers version as old B&W movies that look too perfect, end up looking too different than we remembered them.
I would rate Strangers On A Train as one of the top 8 Alfred Hitchcock films. Can you say "MCguffin".