Monday, May 5, 2014

Strangers on a Train...

First Line: The train tore along with an angry, irregular rhythm.

Main characters: Guy Haines, an up-and-coming architect, decent and hardworking, who's trying to divorce his wife, Miriam, and Charles Anthony Bruno, an immoral and indolent playboy who loves his mother and hates his father enough to commit murder.
"(Guy) was aware of an impulse to tell Bruno everything, the stranger on the train who would listen, commiserate, and forget. The idea of telling Bruno began to comfort him. Bruno was not the ordinary stranger on the train by any means. He was cruel and corrupt enough himself to appreciate a story like that of his first love."
The Premise: Bruno slammed his palms together..."We murder for each other, see? I kill your wife and you kill my father! We meet on the train, see, and nobody knows we know each other! Perfect alibis! Catch?"

My Thoughts: So, the movie version of Strangers on a Train is probably my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film. I confess, I didn't even know it was a book first until I ran across Patricia Highsmith's novel at the library, and then I couldn't wait to read it. Hitchcock stayed fairly true to the first half of this novel, but then the two stories diverge. Highsmith spends more time exploring human nature and its duality of good and evil. And it's the psychological aspects of this novel, Bruno's obsession with Guy, and the way he torments, manipulates, and ultimately traps him, that makes Highsmith's tale so chilling and disturbing. Bruno is definitely one of the creepier, more despicable, characters ever written. This book isn't exactly a page-turner, the pacing felt a bit slow at times, but it is unforgettable. I think I prefer Hitchcock's suspenseful version of this story, but I'm glad I read the original. And I would definitely read Highsmith again! So, read the book and then check out the movie. Both are worth it!

6 comments:

  1. It's nice when a book and a movie adaptation are both great. It seems like it is usually one or the other!

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    1. You're right; usually if I love the book, I hate the movie. Luckily, this time both were good.

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  2. I had heard Highsmith was good, but had no idea she wrote this book! Thanks for the info. I did like the movie version.

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  3. Haven't seen this movie, but the premise is chilling. Interesting how Hitchcock deviated so much from the arc of the book--maybe he just wanted the premise himself.

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    1. And to keep the pacing moving more quickly; it's a great film.

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