“Strangers on a Train” – The One For Each And Every Hitchcock Admirer
Warning – The Following Story is Merely Fan Fiction!!!
The year is 1951. It appears you are a famous tennis player in the States. So famous, indeed, that you can’t even powder your nose in the comfort room without someone standing by it, squealing out ai Betty-oh-my-god-it’s-him. You, my friend, have got to be who actually matters. Naturally, just now as you’re traveling by train, a complete stranger puts you in the very well-deserved spotlight. Humbled by your presence, he sits next to you as he savors your very personhood, telling you to your face just how much he admires people like you, people who actually go out and do stuff. Why, he must live to stan for you.
That schoolboy tie pin of his spells out his name, though. Bruno.
And his momma made it for him.
Oh, look, there’s even a stain on his shirt already.
It has got to be his mother’s spaghetti.
What a chatty fella, this Bruno, though… Ok, how do I get rid of this guy? Do I say something like ‘I’m taking another train?’ Is he… is he flirting with me? What did he just say? How does he know that I’m dating the senator’s daughter? What the…? How does he know that I am also married at the same time and want to divorce the cheating double-crosser (unlike me, who is allowed to cheat)? Oh, no, I am soo walking away this instant!!! Oh, yes I am, before you get to say Jack Golddiggerson.
… Well, I mean, since he sincerely apologized it would be rude of me to leave… What? No, I don’t want to have lunch with you, do you have any idea who I am?! I wouldn’t be caught dead…
Oh, God, I am stuck with this person!
… How creepy is this Bruno fella? And wahaay too cocky, it’s god uncomfortable for me… How can anyone be this full of themselves? Yes, my wife is unfaithful, but it is horribly rude to say it to my face. I have feelings, you know! Ha-ha, yeah, honestly, I would have a blast if someone were to a-hem get rid of her for me, but of course, I would never in a million years admit it to your face. What are you saying? Why, you must be out of your mind. Wait, this guy is serious! I would never kill anyone for you, you brrgh… psycho! Why, this man is crazy, there’s no question about it. I am no murderer, mister! I’d better let him know I refuse to participate in anything of the sort, get up and leave looking as offended as I can pretend to be. That will show him… I mean, me – the door! I am out of here this instant! That will make him look so ridiculous now.
… Wait… I left my lighter on the train… The lighter with mine and my girlfriend’s initials right next to the tennis symbol. Oh, the solid piece of planted evidence that would be if something were to happen. What on earth could ever beat that lighter in court!? Did… did I leave it in there on purpose? Do I actually WANT this to happen, deep inside…? Is man inherently evil??? Is Bruno, after all and to the bone… Heeey, isn’t that Mr. Hitchcock, this movie’s director getting on the train I just got off? I could have gone for some gazillion of FOMO-inducing trending material, I mean why not, I might have finally gotten more followers than that Carry Grant… That would have shown everyone who makes for a better lead!
And that, folks, is but the beginning of your “Strangers on a Train” Saturday cinema treat.
– But, but, what happens next? (suspense)
This is how it feels being Guy Haynes, the lead character of “Strangers on a Train”, yet another Hitchcock entertainment this week, one that delivers what it has promised.
– Why, expand on it, you ask. – Well, we have a few points at your disposal, among which:
It makes you dwell on the duality of a persona – What Guy was going to realize before, had he not been interrupted by his ego, was that perhaps Bruno is our mere Id of animalistic desires, mercilessly eager to take the obstacles out of our way – despite all those reasonable superego mantras we try to internalize, i.e. how we’ve been taught that killing is bad.
It’s the price we pay for even daring to be happy, and unlike taxation, it’s the price we pay to live in a civilized society.
But do not expect any analysis of high philosophy beyond what Mr. Hitchcock is known to offer. After all, it is his job to entertain, and not to have a point.
Leave the latter to the Jordan Peeles of cinema.
The camera – such as that one frame in particular where the murder takes place in the reflection of a broken pair of glasses. Or such as that one symbolic frame of Guy and Bruno put behind bars while facing a police vehicle, only “the bars” being the neighbors’ fence across the street.
The acting – after the curtain comes down, you will find yourself wiping off some sweatdrops over who makes for a better villain:
a) Robert Walker (Bruno Anthony) in “Strangers on a Train”
b) Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates) in “Psycho”.
So, to conclude, is this the best of Hitchcock? – No, that would be “The Birds”. But why be so naive and take our word it?