"An incredible study of psychological torture and how fine the membrane is between normality and the underlying darkness." —Tana French
The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut novel, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. “Some people are better off dead,” Bruno remarks, “like your wife and my father, for instance.” As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith’s perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.
The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.
A man's joking suggestion that he and a chance acquaintance trade murders turns deadly.
Release Date: June 30, 1951
Release Time: 101 minutes
Farley Granger as Guy Haines
Ruth Roman as Anne Morton
Robert Walker as Bruno Anthony
Leo G. Carroll as Senator Morton
Patricia Hitchcock as Barbara Morton
Laura Elliott as Miriam Joyce Haines
Marion Lorne as Mrs. Anthony
Jonathan Hale as Mr. Anthony
Howard St. John as Police Capt. Turley
Norma Varden as Mrs. Cunningham
John Brown as Professor Collins
Robert Gist as Detective Hennessey
Georges Renavent as Monsieur Darville (uncredited)
Odette Myrtil as Madame Darville (uncredited)
Best Cinematography: Robert Burks Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award
Outstanding Directing – Feature Film: Alfred Hitchcock Nominated
American Film Institute
AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - #32
Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist and short story writer, most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. In addition to her acclaimed series about murderer Tom Ripley, she wrote many short stories, often macabre, satirical or tinged with black humor. Although she wrote specifically in the genre of crime fiction, her books have been lauded by various writers and critics as being artistic and thoughtful enough to rival mainstream literature. Michael Dirda observed, "Europeans honored her as a psychological novelist, part of an existentialist tradition represented by her own favorite writers, in particular Dostoevsky, Conrad, Kafka, Gide, and Camus."