Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review of 'Strangers on a Train'

Watched this at a little arthouse cinema in Girona - very comfortable seats, but hard-to-hear soundtrack. I presume the mainly Catalan audience were reading the subtitles and didn't much care.

A classic suspense thriller, perfectly made, though some aspects of the plot don't stand up to much scrutiny. I especially enjoyed it because I'd recently listened to the rather good radio play 'Strangers on a Film', about the tension between Hitchcock and Raymond Chandler, whose name appears on the credits but didn't really write the screenplay.

In the play Hitchcock and Chandler argue about whether it's important for the plot and the characters to make sense; Hitchcock says that's not important in a film, which is a different medium from print. Seeing the movie I can see that he was undoubtedly right. Lots of the plot doesn't make much sense but it doesn't matter.

Small other note in passing; watching it I found it hard to know exactly when it was set. It looked like the 1930's, and only the small poster inviting travellers to visit New York to see the UN was a give-away that it was post-war. No sign in the film that anyone is a veteran, or that the war even had happened. It was made in the early 1950's, which really did look like a vanished world. Interesting how 'grown-up' the actors/characters look, even though they are much younger than me.

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