Strangers on a Train under the stars

Favorite part of the movie

In the past year I’ve read several posts about other bloggers going to screenings of classic films.

Angela at ‘Hollywood Revue” went to see “White Christmas” during the holidays and I thought it sounded so nice when everyone sang along at the end of the movie. Let me tell you, if I had been there I would have cried.  Marsha at ‘A Person in the Dark’ recently saw a screening of “Daisy Kenyon” featuring a speaker who was a personal friend of Joan Crawford’s.

Unfortunately, local movie theaters where I live don’t show classic films. The only classic films I know of shown in the Greenville, S.C. area are Moonlight Movies at the Peace Center.  At the end of May and the beginning of September, the Peace Center shows films every Wednesday for four weeks.  I have never been able to go until now, because I was away at school.

This week they showed “Strangers on a Train” (1951) starring Robert Walker, Farley Granger and Ruth Roman. I didn’t want to miss it  one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies.

The film is about two strangers who meet on a train. Walker tries to convince Granger to swap murders of people they they don’t care for. Granger doesn’t take Walker serious until his wife, Miriam, ends up dead.

Moonlight Movies is kind of a “cool rich person in Greenville” thing to do, rather than a gathering of a lot of classic film lovers like some movie screenings.  There were several talking  (including the ones who came 30 minutes late and sat right in front of us) and some old drunk people behind us.

Regardless of the distractions, seeing the “Strangers on a Train” again confirmed a few things:

Glasses shot

-Robert Walker is really a wonderful actor. I think of him as the shy, sweet and awkward boy in “Since You Went Away.”  Seeing him in “Strangers on a Train” where he is insane is such a juxtaposition.  Walker does SUCH a good job in this movie. I hate that his life ended shortly after.

-Miriam’s murder, which we only witness through the reflection of her glasses, is one of my all time favorite film scenes and demonstrates Hitchcock’s mastery of camera.

-At one point Ruth Roman and Farely Granger are walking through a museum and then stop and turn around. In one shot they are walking through a real museum and the next standing in front of a screen that is showing a film of a museum, making it look like they are there.

At the end of the film everyone clapped and I asked my sister and her boyfriend what their reactions to the film were (they aren’t avid classic film watchers). Here were their responses:

Sister: “There shouldn’t be drinking at the films and there should be an age limit for who attends.” -not really what I was looking for

Sister’s boyfriend: “I wanted them to use the sister with glasses as a decoy to catch the bad guy.”

Overall, it was a relatively nice experience. I would like to go to a screening in a movie house one day, but this is a good start.

Here are a few photos from the evening:

Before the movie started before it got dark. It was pretty crowded. (Downtown Greenville at the Peace Center Amphitheater)

Sitting in my little chair, excited for the movie to start.

My sister and her boyfriend that I dragged along.

The movie is starting!

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3 thoughts on “Strangers on a Train under the stars

  1. This is one of my favorites, though I’m always puzzled by the merry go round scene at the end. Why does the old guy need to crawl under the machine? Why can’t he walk around it to get to the lever?

    Not as suspenseful of course but always wondered if maybe I missed a line of dialogue or something as to why he had to crawl under.

    You’re right about Walker though. It’s a truly magnificent performance.

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  2. You should read Jean Stein’s “West of Eden” for some info on Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones. And lots of other interesting Hollywood stuff.

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    • I don’t believe I have come across that book. I do have Jennifer Jones’ bio, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’ll add that to my reading list!

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