Friday, February 26, 2016
Beaverhausen Book Nook: Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train
Strangers was a hit 1951 Hitchcock film, mostly faithful to the novel, and not missing out on the gay subtext of the relationship between Guy (the gorgeous Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker). Raymond Chandler co-wrote the screenplay.
The author, from Fort Worth, Texas, was alcoholic, unpleasant to most people due to her misanthropic attitude, a lesbian and an existentialist. This didn't exactly endear her to the entertainment industries at the time though she was a very talented writer and recognized as such later in life.
Highsmith also wrote The Talented Mr Ripley and The Price of Salt, the latter being the basis for the Oscar-nominated film Carol.
As for Strangers on a Train, there's a distinct brilliance to the plotting which can best be enjoyed, perhaps, on the printed page. The plot involves two young and handsome men who meet on a train and eventually plan a mutual murder scheme. Of course, drama and complications ensue.
I think, based on reading the novel, that Walker was not the best choice to play Bruno, though he was a wonderful actor. He just doesn't resemble the character described in the book.