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Strangers on a Train (1952)

Book Vs Movie Podcast

Book Vs. Movie:
Strangers on a Train
The 1950 Novel Vs. the 1951 Classic Film

The Margos return to Alfred Hitchcock with his classic thriller Strangers on a Train, based on Patricia Highsmith’s debut novel. The story of two men meeting up and deciding to commit double murder in just a few hours may strain credulity–but it is a fun story ride!
In the novel, budding architect Guy Haines meets wealthy gadabout Charles Anthony Bruno (called Bruno throughout the book) on a train ride to Texas. Guy wants to divorce his cheating (and pregnant) wife, Miriam, to marry his true love, Anne Faulkner. Bruno has a father who wants him to grow up and be more responsible, while he would rather travel, drink, and spend his family’s money.

Bruno proposes they kill the person in their lives holding back their happiness. Guy agrees to escape the conversation and is shocked when Bruno strangles Miriam to death. Bruno now wants a favor in return.

Highsmith was a master of thrills and suspense with several books, including “The Talented Mr. Ripley” series. Her private life consisted of several relationships with both men and women, including a married psychologist who helped her with theories about sociopaths and psychopaths.

She was surprised to find her book sold to Alfred Hitchcock for $7500 and angry her agent did not ask for more. (Hitch was known for his secrecy.) The movie adaptation changed her setting from the South and Southwest to NYC and Washington, DC, and included a gay subtext about the relationship between the lead characters.

In an adapted script by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde, Guy becomes a tennis pro who ultimately cannot go through with the killing of Bruno’s father. (Spoilers in this episode!)

What are the other differences between the book and the film? And which version did the Margos like better? Have a listen!

In this ep the Margos discuss:

Clips used:

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