Forty years before Hannibal Lecter was giving Clarice Starling the heeby-jeebies, Robert Walker created one of the most captivating, debonair screen psychos ever: Bruno Anthony, a fawning playboy who meets clean-cut tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) on the train and casually suggests they swap murders. If Bruno offs Guy's obnoxious wife Miriam, Guy has to return the favour against Bruno's father. Two motiveless murders equals the perfect crime...
One of Hitchcock's most effective thrillers, this classy, nerve-rattling adap of Patricia Highsmith's novel layers in an audacious-for-the-time gay subtext and ingenious suspense set-pieces. The nearly dialogue-free sequence where Bruno stalks/flirts with Miriam before strangling her in the reflection of her own coke-bottle specs is one of the most spectacular (and weirdly erotic) Hitch ever directed, while the climactic tussle aboard an out-of-control carousel is equally impressive.
Rope star Granger makes an effectively beleaguered lead and the support cast is outstanding. But Strangers belongs to Walker, his Bruno a perfect juxtaposition of preening flamboyance and psychotic wrath. Chew on that, Hannibal.
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