Strangers on a Train Movie Poster

Trivia for Strangers on a Train

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  • The relationship between Raymond Chandler and Sir Alfred Hitchcock was not a happy one. The main bone of contention between the two men was that Chandler's writing paid more attention to character motivation, while Hitchcock was more interested in the visual development and formal structure of the movie laid out in the treatment. In a letter to a studio executive, Chandler said he preferred to work with a director "who realizes that what is said and how it is said is more important than shooting it upside down through a glass of champagne." The two men also had different meeting styles. Hitchcock enjoyed long, rambling off-topic meetings where often the movie would not even be mentioned for hours, while Chandler was strictly business and wanted to get out and get writing. He called the meetings "god-awful jabber sessions which seem to be an inevitable although painful part of the picture business." Chandler was also a hard drinker and a difficult person with whom to get along under the best of circumstances. Interpersonal relations deteriorated rapidly until finally Chandler became openly combative. When Hitchcock arrived at Chandler's house for a story meeting, Chandler hollered from his window, "Look at the fat bastard trying to get out of his car!" When his secretary warned that Hitchcock might be able to hear him, Chandler said he didn't care.
  • Theatrical movie debut of Marion Lorne (Mrs. Antony).
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock originally wanted William Holden to play the part of Guy Haines, but he was unavailable.
  • The stunt where the man crawled under the carousel was not done with trick photography. Sir Alfred Hitchcock claimed that this was the most dangerous stunt ever performed under his direction, and would never allow it to be done again.
  • The train station scenes in Metcalf were filmed at the former New Haven Railroad station, Danbury, Connecticut, which is today the home of the Danbury Railroad Museum.
  • DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): Early in the movie boarding a train carrying a double bass as Guy gets off the train.
  • Raymond Chandler is credited as the main author of the script, but it was almost completely written by Czenzi Ormonde, who was credited as second author.
  • Raymond Chandler's version of the script ended with Bruno Antony being arrested and institutionalized, with the final image being the villain writhing in a strait jacket.
  • When Bruno searches for the cigarette lighter in the drain, Sir Alfred Hitchcock personally selected the items of trash that lie on the floor.
  • This is the movie that determined the location of Carol Burnett's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1951, she was working as an usher when this movie was playing at the Warner Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. A couple arrived late, and Burnett, having already seen this movie, advised them that it was a wonderful movie that should be seen from the beginning. The manager of the theater very rudely fired her for this. Many years later, when Carol Burnett was asked where she would like to have her star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she requested that it be placed in front of that theater.
  • As Guy leaves the last match, part of a quotation clearly including the words "two impostors" is visible on the beam above his head. It is from Rudyard Kipling's poem "If." The line reads "If you can meet with triumph and disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same..." It appears above the players' entrance at Wimbledon's Centre Court.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the original novel anonymously to keep the price down, and got them for just seven thousand five hundred dollars.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock had admired Edgar Allan Poe's stories since his teenage years, and went on to put Edgar Allan Poe references in his movies. French critics noticed that there are connections between the runaway carousel in this movie and Poe's "A Descent into the Maelstrom".
  • When this movie was released in Germany in 1952, about five minutes were removed which were considered too brutal or sadistic. Later, the scenes were re-added for television, but they are subtitled, while the rest of the movie is dubbed.
  • This was the last theatrical movie for Robert Walker, who died eight months after filming finished from an allergic reaction to a drug.
  • The character of Bruno was named after Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the convicted kidnapper and killer of the Lindbergh Baby.
  • "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a sixty minute radio adaptation of this movie on December 3, 1951 with Ruth Roman reprising her role.
  • There were several changes made from the original novel: the character Bruno Antony was named Charles Anthony Bruno, and Guy Haines was an architect, not a tennis player. Also, Anne Morton was originally named Anne Faulkner.
  • With the death of Farley Granger in 2011, Patricia Hitchcock is the last surviving member of the cast.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock's cameo was directed by his daughter Patricia.
  • The letters on the shirts of the ball boys at the tennis game, "WSTC", stand for the "West Side Tennis Club", where the stadium is located.
  • The name on the boat that Bruno rides is PLUTO (god of the underworld).
  • It was highly successful at box-office. Sir Alfred Hitchcock's four previous movies, The Paradine Case (1947), Rope (1948), Under Capricorn (1949), and Stage Fright (1950) were box-office failures.
  • While working on this movie, Robert Walker was delighted to find out that he was Sir Alfred Hitchcock's only choice for Bruno Antony.
  • In an interview, Farley Granger revealed that this movie and They Live by Night (1948) were his favorite movies. Granger also revealed that he loved working with Robert Walker and was very upset when he heard about Walker's sudden death, which happened eight months after filming.
  • The scene in which Anne is at the Antony home, when Bruno's mother leaves the room, Bruno enters and talks to Anne. He is wearing the same printed silk dressing robe worn by Sheridan Whiteside, played by Monty Woolley in The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942). You can see Robert Walker wearing it in one of the still photos on this movie's page, and at Monty Woolley wearing it at one minute and five seconds of the trailer for The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) on its page.
  • While the script was still being worked on, Sir Alfred Hitchcock went to the Forest Hills tennis club in New York City to film the Davis Cup matches between Australia and the U.S. for long shots of Guy competing.
  • An amusement park was created according to Sir Alfred Hitchcock's exact specifications at the ranch of Director Rowland V. Lee in Chatsworth, California. However, the tunnel-of-love scenes were shot at a fairground in Canoga Park.
  • According to Farley Granger, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, who worked all his shots out in great detail on paper before shooting, often looked unhappy on the set. When Granger asked him if something was wrong, Hitchcock complained, "Oh, I'm so bored!"
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock personally designed Bruno's necktie with its threatening lobster claw image.
  • Tennis pro Jack Cunningham coached Farley Granger for the scenes that depicted Guy Haines engaged in a tennis match. Cunningham also played his opponent in those scenes.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Walker worked out an elaborate series of gestures and physical appearance to suggest the homosexuality and seductiveness of Bruno's character while bypassing censor objections.
  • According to Farley Granger, Sir Alfred Hitchcock hated Ruth Roman and treated her very harshly, often criticizing her in front of everyone. "He had to have one person in each film he could harass", Granger noted.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock refused to treat his daughter preferentially, which won them both the respect of the other players. "We never discuss Strangers on a Train at home", she told an interviewer at the time. "On the set, he gives me direction, as well as criticism. I might as well be Jane Jones instead of Patricia Hitchcock."
  • Patricia Hitchcock was encouraged by her father to go for a ride on the Ferris wheel constructed on the fairgrounds set. In exchange for doing it, he offered her one hundred dollars because she did not want to do it, as she is scared of heights. She was finally persuaded to do it partly for the money. When she reached the top, Sir Alfred Hitchcock ordered the ride stopped and all lights turned out for something like five seconds. She never got the money, and calls her father's act "sadistic".
  • As was his usual practice, Sir Alfred Hitchcock shot each scene so that there was only one way to edit it, which always conformed to his initial visual concept and pre-production storyboards.
  • Filming was completed just before Christmas 1950.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • Kasey Rogers noted that she had perfect vision at the time the movie was made, but Sir Alfred Hitchcock insisted she wear the character's thick eyeglasses, even in long shots when regular glass lenses would have been undetectable. Rogers was effectively blind with the glasses on, and needed to be guided by the other actors and actresses. In one scene, she can be seen dragging her hand along a table as she walks. This was in order for her to keep track of where she was.
  • Warner Brothers wanted their own stars, already under contract, cast wherever possible. In the casting of Anne Morton, Jack L. Warner got what he wanted when he assigned Ruth Roman to the project, over Sir Alfred Hitchcock's objections. Hitchcock found her "bristling" and "lacking in sex appeal" and said that she had been "foisted upon him".
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted a "name" writer to lend some prestige to the screenplay, but was turned down by eight writers, including John Steinbeck and Thornton Wilder, all of whom thought the story too tawdry, and were put off by Patricia Highsmith's first-timer status. Talks with Dashiell Hammett got further, but here too communications ultimately broke down, and Hammett never took the assignment.
  • Raymond Chandler initially thought that the project was "a silly little story".
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock tried to hire Ben Hecht to write the script, but learned he was unavailable. Hecht suggested his assistant, Czenzi Ormonde.
  • The merry-go-round scene is not in the book, but is taken from the climax of Edmund Crispin's 1946 novel The Moving Toyshop. All of the major elements of the scene, the two men struggling, the accidentally shot attendant, the out-of-control merry-go-round, the crawling under the moving merry-go-round to disable it, are present in Crispin's account, though he received no screen credit for it.
  • Author Patricia Highsmith's opinion of this movie varied over time. She initially praised it, writing: "I am pleased in general. Especially with Bruno, who held the movie together as he did the book." Later in life, while still praising Robert Walker's performance as Bruno, she criticized the casting of Ruth Roman as Anne, Sir Alfred Hitchcock's decision to turn Guy from an architect into a tennis player, and the fact that Guy does not murder Bruno's father, as he does in the novel.
  • Raymond Chandler disparagingly called Producer Barbara Keon "Hitchcock's factotum".
  • Robert Walker was borrowed from MGM for this movie.
  • Although an October 1950 The Hollywood Reporter news item reported that James Millican screentested for a role, he was not in the released movie.
  • This was Raymond Chandler's last screenplay.
  • Similar to the scene of Bruno at the Morton's party, Sir Alfred Hitchcock enjoyed showing people in social situations how to strangle someone. Also, a famous sequence of photos by Philippe Halsman shows Hitchcock doing various things to a bust of his daughter, including strangling her.
  • Some posters showed Sir Alfred Hitchcock inserting the letter "L" into the word "Strangers" in the title to make "Stranglers".
  • Kasey Rogers and Marion Lorne appeared on Bewitched (1964).
  • Cinematographer Robert Burks began an association with Sir Alfred Hitchcock on this movie that would last another thirteen years and a dozen movies. "You never have any trouble with him as long as you know your job and do it", Burks said. "Hitchcock insists on perfection. He has no patience with mediocrity on the set or at a dinner table. There can be no compromise in his work, his food, or his wines."
  • The final scene of the so-called American version of this movie had Barbara and Anne Morton waiting for Guy to call on the telephone. Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted the phone in the foreground to dominate the shot, emphasizing the importance of the call, but the limited depth-of-field of contemporary movie camera lenses made it difficult to get both phone and women in focus. So Hitchcock had an oversized phone constructed and placed in the foreground. Anne reaches for the big phone, but actually answers a regular one: "I did that on one take", Hitchcock explained, "by moving in on Anne so that the big phone went out of the frame as she reached for it. Then a grip put a normal-sized phone on the table, where she picked it up."
  • Included among the Great Movies list compiled by Roger Ebert.
  • The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
  • In the scene where Ruth Roman and Patricia Hitchcock are watching the tennis match, Ruth gives Patricia a real U.S. ten dollar bill. Showing real U.S. money in movies then was illegal without permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. The Treasury Department later removed the prohibition for Psycho (1960) and later movies.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • The professional carnival used for the amusement park sequences for this movie was Crafts 20 Big Shows, owned by Mike Cartel's father, and filmed on Director Rowland Lee's ranch in Chatsworth, California.
  • When Guy is speaking with the police he is holding a newspaper. The photo of the professor can be seen centered directly on the vertical fold of the paper. This could have been employed as a device to imply Guy's guilt but it was never used.
  • Among the songs playing at the amusement park are the former extremely popular songs And the Band Played On (1895), Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1911), and the Beer Barrel Polka (1927). At the time, these songs were between 26 and 56 years out of date but now, some three generations later, they can still be heard at some amusement parks.
  • Director Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia played Barbara Morton in this picture, and remains the sole heiress to the Hitchcock fortune.
  • The drunk on the train with Guy is singing the traditional folk song 'Bill Grogan's Goat'. He only manages to only get out these lyrics: "He loved that goat. Indeed he did. He loved that goat. Just like a kid." What's left out of the song, ironically, is not only dark, but involves a train. After the goat eats the man's clothes, the song continues: "The man, he grabbed... Him by the back... And tied him to... A railroad track... Now, when that train... Hove into sight... That goat grew pale... And green with fright." Which symbolically (not at all literally) foreshadows Guy's predicament in the minutes to come.

Spoilers

  • This movie did not initially end with Guy Haines and Anne Morton on the train. In another version of this movie, it ends just before this. This other reel was mistakenly labelled "the British version" leading people to believe that this was what was shown in Britain. This is incorrect, and the same ending was broadcast in Britain and America.
  • Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to end this movie with Guy (Farley Granger) saying "Bruno, Bruno Antony, a clever fellow." But the studio forced him to shoot a happy ending.
  • Body count: three.
  • The scene of the climactic fight on the carousel and the ride's subsequent explosion was very complicated to shoot with a combination of live-action and rear screen projection. It usually took about a half day to set up each shot, so the actors, actresses, and the projected image matched.
  • The carousel explosion was filmed in miniature then enlarged on a huge rear-projection screen behind the live performers.
  • To achieve the shot of Bruno (Robert Walker) murdering Miriam (Kasey Rogers) reflected in her glasses, an enormous distorting lens was constructed. Walker and Rogers were then reflected in it at a ninety-degree angle.
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