Homage to Hitchcock - Strangers on a Train (1951)
Sir Alfred took a creative break for a few years. That doesn't mean that Hitch stopped directing. He just seemed to stop directing anything good in 1949 and 1950. Under Capricorn is such a wretched film that even Ingrid Bergman, who appears to have taken about 20mg of Valium at the beginning of every shoot day during filming, cannot save the movie.
And that's saying something.
And while Stage Fright has its redeeming qualities, including the shapely behind of Jane Wyman, it is a somnambulistic plodder being dragged around by Marlene Dietrich and Michael Redgrave.
Thank God for Strangers on a Train, Hitchcock's 1951 contribution to cinema. You will never again hear the phrase, "criss cross," uttered aloud without it having a specific meaning for anyone who has taken in Strangers on a Train.
Creepy Robert Walker and Twitchy Farley Granger, each have a female albatross they would over to have removed from their respective necks. For Walker, even though he is the ultimate Mama's boy, it is his overbearing mother, keeping Robert from a healthy share of the family trust fund. Mom's expedited death would therefore, expedite Creepy Robert Walker's reception of said cash.
Mr. Granger needs a bothersome "Soon To Be Ex-Wife" turned into something more Ex. It is so he can marry the scrumptious Ruth Roman, who is the earliest example of a Serious Piece of Ass in the post WWII Hollywood Era.
What to do?
Well, Walker upholds his part of the "arrangement" between the two, when he manages to choke the life out of Granger's very Ex-Wife in a gruesome fashion at at an, ahem, amusement park. However, Granger chickens out when it comes to his turn to snuff out Mom.
Creepy Robert Walker is none too happy about the unfulfilled bargain and puts a plan in play to frame Granger for the murder of the Ex-Wife. This leads to one of the tensest climaxes to any film when the movie shifts expertly back and forth between Walker planting evidence and Granger attempting to finish off an opponent in a championship tennis match and intercept Walker before the Creepy fellow completes the task.
The movie's big finish is at the aforementioned amusement park. Proving, once more, there is nothing scarier than clowns.
Unless it's Alfred Hitchcock.
Hitch's next gimmicky movie is next. Dial M for Murder (1954)