Strangers On A Train (1951) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Rob of MovieRob. He also reviewed Saving Private Ryan HERE and The Manchurian Candidate HERE and Pulp Fiction HERE. Thanks for the reviews, Rob! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about Strangers On A Train, IMDB rank 138 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB Review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

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“My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer.” – Bruno

Number of Times Seen – 1 (4 Nov 2014)

Brief Synopsis – After two strangers meet by accident during a train ride, one of them suggests that they commit crisscross murders for each other so neither will be suspected of the crimes.

My Take on it – Despite being a co-host of a Hitchcock blogathon a few months ago, I still haven’t seen most of his movies yet.

This is one of them that I have been meaning to see for years, but for some unknown reason, I have constantly procrastinated seeing.

I knew the basic premise (which was re-used in Throw Momma From the Train (1987) and couldn’t wait to see how Hitchcock handled it.

As a fan of movies, I generally prefer good and gripping plots as opposed to masterfully filmed movies from a technical standpoint. That’s probably the reason that I never fully appreciated Hitchcock’s films because he was known more for his camera angles, shots and perspectives than for his storylines.

That’s actually my major gripe about this movie tho; the premise is genius, but the actual storyline execution is weak. The characterizations and plot should have been developed more instead of making sure that the reflection through a pair of eye glasses was done properly. But that’s what one should expect from a Hitchcock movie, so I can’t really complain about something I was already aware of when I watched this.

There are a few great suspense filled scenes, the most notable one is with a lighter in a storm drain.

I wish I could say that I loved this movie, but frankly I can only say it was very good.

Bottom Line – Amazing premise and great work by Hitchcock, but the story itself is weakly plotted. Camera shots are excellent and perfectly done just like Hitchcock was known for. Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy

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***MOVIES FOR MOVIEROB & THE IPC

Hi. Your Cinema Parrot Disco host here. So, a few months ago, Rob did a review of Need For Speed for Eric’s Shitfest at The IPC. At the end of the review, he posted 10 pictures from 10 road racing movies and said that whoever got the most right would be able to choose 5 movies for him and 5 movies for Eric to watch & review. Well, I WON! 🙂

Sorry for the huge delay, guys – I know you’ve been anxious for these, Rob! Life has gotten in the way these last few months but, as promised once October was over, here are your five movies each. I have a few alternates in case you’ve seen any of these already or if you can’t get a hold of some. I’ve put links in on the ones I’ve reviewed and there’s also one I’ve never seen (Nikita). No time limit whatsoever on these (although I’m sure Rob will have these watched, written, and posted by lunchtime tomorrow). 😉

Rob’s Movies:

Harold & Maude
Before Sunrise
Amelie
I Origins
The Babadook

Eric’s Movies:

The Secret In Their Eyes
Sisters (aka Blood Sisters)
Vanishing Point
The Brood
Nikita

***Stay tuned the next two weeks for two more IMDB Top 250 Alfred Hitchcock guest reviews.

Double Indemnity (1944) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Cindy. You can find her blog, Cindy Bruchman, HERE. Thanks for being a part of this IMDB project, Cindy! 🙂 Now let’s see what she has to say about Double Indemnity, IMDB rank 57 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE.

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***WARNING: SPOILERS***

In 1945, Billy Wilder directed and co-wrote the script with Raymond Chandler and Double Indemnity was nominated for seven academy awards including Best Picture. For the three principal actors, this American noir was the best decision they made in their careers, especially Edward G. Robinson, who normally insisted  top billing but signed up as supporting actor because the script was so good. Indeed, Barbara Stanwyck may have been nominated for Best Actress and Fred MacMurray played tall-dark-and-handsome perfectly, but it was Robinson’s role that was essential for moving the plot and his acting the best of the bunch. Why he wasn’t nominated for an award, I don’t know.

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Shadows, hidden corners, streets after sundown and conversations in garages and halls and trains–even in the bright of day, fatale Phyllis Dietrichson hides behind black shades and most shots are held at night or in the dark. It’s a tricky way to begin a film. Fred MacMurray’s character, Walter Neff, stumbles injured into his L.A. office one night and confesses into a dictaphone that he committed a murder. The rest of the film is a flashback where we learn how and why he did it.

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In the old days, insurance salesmen made house calls. Walter makes a visit to the Dietrichson home and craves the wife when she appears at the top of the stairs wearing no more than a smile and a towel. Her smoldering sexuality instigates Walter Neff’s decision to do whatever it takes to free Phyllis Dietrichson from her boring husband. Film censors had their way in the 1940s. A man or woman who commits adultery will get theirs in the end. Even though we can predict the ending, what holds the film together is the sleuth, the ethical, claims adjuster and friend to Neff, Barton Keyes.

This is the thrilling part of the film. As the narrator and protagonist (?) of the story, Walter Neff’s repentance at the beginning of the film and the unraveling of the story has you admiring his cleverness while forgiving him his mistake. It has you scrutinizing every gesture, every word Phyllis makes. Every “I love you, baby” seems sincere. Is Neff an unreliable narrator? As the story unfolds, do you believe him? After enough plot twists and the depth of descent of Phyllis’s manipulation, you realize you’ve been duped just like Walter Neff.

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While one tries to understand these two lovers, there is Barton Keyes, figuring out the mystery while discussing it to Neff at work. If Neff can devise a plan to make the murder of her husband appear as an accident, it will trigger the “double indemnity” clause and pay out twice the policy’s face value. Neff has his jaw set and tries to stay calm. Part of you wants Barton Keyes to figure it out while another part of you hopes the lovers get away. The audience experiences a trifecta of see-sawing of emotions. It’s good old-fashioned dramatic irony and why the film is great.

Maybe you haven’t seen this outstanding classic? Here’s a trailer for you: