Strangers on a Train
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel, a suave psychopath who wants his father’s money tries to swap murders with a tennis star who needs a divorce.
On a train Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) recognizes Guy Haines (Farley Granger) and knows he wants to marry Anne Morton after his divorce. Bruno says he wants to kill his rich father and suggests they trade murders to eliminate motive. Guy gets off the train and finds his wife Miriam Joyce Haines (Kasey Rogers) working in a store. She is pregnant with another man’s baby but says she no longer wants a divorce. Guy calls Anne Morton (Ruth Roman) and says he could kill Miriam.
In his parents’ home Bruno calls Guy. Bruno finds Miriam and follows her to a carnival. After coming out of the tunnel of love he strangles her and leaves calmly.
Guy is entering his house when Bruno calls him outside and gives him Miriam’s glasses. Bruno warns Guy not to tell the police. Guy says Bruno is crazy and never wants to see him again. Guy calls on Anne and kisses her. Senator Morton (Leo G. Carroll) tells Guy that his wife was murdered. Barbara Morton (Patricia Hitchcock) says that Guy will be suspected. Guy says he was on a train and met Professor Collins.
Guy goes to police captain Turley (Howard St. John), but Collins says he does not remember Guy. In Anne’s house Guy says his alibi was not believed. Guy gets a call from Bruno and hangs up. Leslie Hennessy (Robert Gist) tails Guy, who sees Bruno. Guy gets a note from Bruno and burns it. Anne sees Guy talk with Bruno. Guy practices tennis and finds Bruno at Anne’s table. Barbara meets Bruno. Guy is sent a pistol.
At a party Bruno talks to Senator Morton, a judge, and Mrs. Cunningham (Norma Varden). While Barbara stares at him, Bruno chokes Mrs. Cunningham and faints. Left alone Guy slugs Bruno. Barbara tells Anne that Bruno looked at her while he choked the lady. Anne notices Barbara’s glasses. Anne asks Guy if Bruno killed Miriam, and Guy tells her the truth. Hennessy is suspicious.
Guy calls Bruno and says he will do it. Guy climbs the stairs as a dog growls. He wants to talk with Mr. Anthony, but in his bed is Bruno. Guy gives back the gun and advises Bruno to get treatment. Guy leaves.
Anne tells oblivious Mrs. Anthony that her son is a murderer. Bruno tells Anne that Guy did it. Guy tells Anne that Bruno will put his lighter at the murder scene.
Guy plays tennis quickly, but his match runs long. Bruno drops the lighter down a grate and eventually retrieves it. Guys wins his match. Barbara distracts Hennessy as Guy leaves. Hennessy follows him and calls ahead. Bruno at the carnival waits for dark. Guy takes a train. Police see Guy at the carnival. A worker remembers Bruno and tells the police. A policeman shoots the carousel worker, and it speeds up. As it goes around, Guy and Bruno fight. Police think Guy is the murderer. Bruno tries to kick Guy off. A worker crawls under the carousel to stop it, and it crashes. Captain Turley learns that Bruno is identified. Bruno is injured and dies, revealing the lighter in his hand. Guy agrees to talk to Turley. Guy calls Anne; they take a train and ignore a stranger.
Hitchcock directed this suspenseful thriller that allows the audience to identify with a man caught in the murder plot of an insane man. A smarter man would have realized that he would have to explain it to the police eventually and that sooner would be better.