Blu-ray Review “Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”

Actors: Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll
Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 101 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Strangers on a Train” has always been one of my favorite Hitchcock pictures. It really shows him at his pure best. I know, I know “Psycho” is amazing but this is a completely different type of picture. It literally keeps you on the edge of your chair from once the plot to “exchange” murders begins on that train. Warner Brothers delivers a really fantastic 1080p transfer within it’s aspect ratio of 1.36:1. The black and white film looks so crisp and sharp. The audio is also near-perfect with its DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score really secures your seat placement on your couch.  There are two different cuts of this film on the Blu-ray. There is the final release version, which we all know and love and then there is the preview version which runs about two minutes longer and features some alternate takes. They are subtle changes but if you are a hardcore fan of Hitchcock, you are going to want both versions.

The special features are ported from previous DVD releases but still great.  There is a jam-packed commentary track with Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell and about fifteen others who pop in. Obviously, it is edited together and done very well. Next up with five behind-the-scene featurettes, including “Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic”, which is a nice chat with Peter Bogdanovich and a few others about film. “Strangers on a Train: The Victim’s P.O.V.” looks into the shot uses for Laura Elliot in the film (one of my favorite shots). “Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan” is the “The Sixth Sense” director’s tribute to Hitchcock.  “The Hitchcocks on Hitch” is a chat with both Hitchcock’s daughter and granddaughter. “Alfred Hitchcock’s Historical Meeting” is a short extra with the director meeting up with actors made up as historical characters. Lastly there is the theatrical trailer included.

Premise: Before anyone though of “throwing Momma from the train,” the idea of a double “crisscross” murder has already been hatched. Or “hitched,” as in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train”. Tennis star Guy Hanies (Farley Granger) half-jokingly muses about killing his wife with a stranger he meets on a train, unhinged playboy Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), who’d prefer his father be deceased. In theory, each could murder the other’s victim. Crisscross. No motive. No clues. No problem…except: Bruno takes the idea seriously, with deadly consequences.

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