Be careful who you sit next to this week, as Zach examines Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.

Strange thing about this trip. So much occurs in pairs. Tennis star Guy (Farley Granger) hates his unfaithful wife. Mysterious Bruno (Robert Walker) hates his father. How perfect for a playful proposal: I’ll kill yours, you kill mine. Now look at how Alfred Hitchcock reinforces the duality of human nature. The more you watch, the more you’ll see. “Isn’t it a fascinating design?” the Master of Suspense often asked. Actually, it’s doubly fascinating. Hitchcock left behind two versions of Strangers on a Train. The original version (Side A) is an all-time thriller classic. A recently found longer prerelease British print (Side B) offers “a startling amplification of Bruno’s flamboyance, his homoerotic attraction to Guy and his psychotic personality,” according to Bill Desowitz of Film Comment. The laying bare of Bruno’s hidden nature, along with the great set pieces (head-turning tennis match, disintegrating carousel) and suspense as only Hitchcock can deliver, makes for a first-class trip.

Buy Strangers on a Train [Blu-ray]

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. March 24, 2014 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    Can I make a request for you guys to pepper in movies that people who listen to your other podcasts would like to hear you guys talk about? Since these are usually movies Zach has not seen maybe movies that are recent? I realize that Diehard isn’t the most artistic movies but it was one of my favorite Zach on Films. Mostly because I personally liked film. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk about other movies but Pop Culture is what I come for. Maybe I’m in a minority but being a fan of science fiction, action and comic books, I’d actually like hear about movies in those genres as well as the films that came up with some new camera angle.

    • March 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm — Reply

      I appreciate the feedback, but keep in mind the whole purpose of Zach on Film is for Young Zach to actually watch older films that have a direct influence on the films and filmmakers of today, to see what inspired them, and added to the overall craft, societal reflections, and so on. By understanding where we’ve come from, Zach should end up having a greater appreciation (and mastery) of film technique, theory, and practice.

      • March 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm — Reply

        I’m quite aware of the why’s and I’m not saying you should stop. I am betting you kind find things to talk about with movies more related with the website and those movies shouldn’t be overlooked. Plus, you would be catering more to the fans of Major Spoilers.

        On a different note, I think you are being really harsh on Almost Human. It was not a shot by shot remake. It just had the same plot. Perhaps the villains saw that old movie and thought 80 years was enough to try the scheme. Plus the show is really good.

        • March 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm — Reply

          Could you name a few movies that you happen to have in mind?

          I know that you said you would like to see some science fiction/action movies thrown in the mix. We have done about a handful of sci-fi movies with Star Trek, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, Planet of the Apes and Alien.

  2. Nick S.
    March 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm — Reply

    Excellent episode, guys. Couple things….

    Matthew, is Robert Walker reminding you of Murray Hamilton, the mayor from “Jaws”? ‘Cause that’s who I think of whenever I watch “Strangers…”

    Also, Are there any plans to sit Young Zach down in front of “The Hidden Fortress”? It seems like a natural fit for you guys given the film’s influence on George Lucas.

    • March 28, 2014 at 7:17 am — Reply

      The ‘ZoF’ list is a shadowy thing, spoken of only in whispers, never seen in full, only known to a few special men…

      That said, I’d be somewhat surprised if ‘Fortress’ *isn’t* on the list.

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