Farley Granger, Robert Walker
Bruno: I’d like to talk with you some time, sir, and tell you about my idea for harnessing the life force. It’ll make atomic power look like the horse and buggy. I’m already developing my faculty for seeing millions of miles. And senator, can you imagine being able to smell a flower on the planet Mars? I’d like to, uh, have lunch with you some day soon, sir…tell you more about it. I’ll see you…
Sen. Morton: Goodbye….don’t remember inviting that young man. Who is he?
Anne: Friend of the Dorvilles.
Sen. Morton: …Unusual personality…
A tennis player, Guy (Granger), meets a strange man on a train who describes to him the perfect way to commit a murder. He says that two strangers should swap murders so neither one can be tied to the other’s murder. The man, Bruno (Walker), turns out to be quite mad, and thinks they had a deal to actually kill a person for each other. Guy discovers that Bruno has murdered his estranged wife and now wants Guy to kill his father for him, or else he’ll implicate Guy in the murder of his wife.
This is another Hitchcock classic that I’d never seen. It’s good, but not quite up there with Rear Window, Notorious, or Psycho. It’s a little slow at times, and once again I wasn’t very impressed with Farley Granger in the lead role. I didn’t really like him in Rope either.
Robert Walker, on the other hand, is very creepy as Bruno Anthony. He seems like a nice enough, but annoying, guy to begin with, but as the movie progresses, we see more clearly that he’s basically just insane. Some of it has to do with his overbearing father and over-caring mother not allowing him to grow up into a real adult, but not all of it can be blamed on them.
There were a few lulls here and there in this one. For instance, the scene where Bruno is following Guy’s wife, Miriam, around an amusement park goes on far too long. Also, the tennis scene was tedious as well. I get that it was being used as a way to keep Guy from getting to a certain location before Bruno could, but I guess tennis just isn’t an effective tension builder.
Still, this is a good story, with some good tension, a few laughs (mostly courtesy of Patricia Hitchcock as Barbara Morton), and an effectively exciting ending.
10 – 1.1 for Granger’s one-note performance – 1.5 for some dull spots + .2 for Walker’s performance = 7.6