Strangers on a Train (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Strangers on a Train (1951)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
Strangers on a Train

Hitchcock: The Perfect Crime
Thursday, July 13, 2023, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Deputy Director, BMFI

Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley), Strangers on a Train (1951) stars Farley Granger and a captivating Robert Walker in his penultimate role—and features the director’s own daughter, Patricia, in a juicy supporting part.

The film came about during a relative low point in Hitch’s career. After toiling for domineering uber-producer David O. Selznick (Rebecca) for the entirety of his time in Hollywood, Hitchcock hung out his own shingle, Transatlantic Pictures, where he directed Rope and Under Capricorn. The subpar response to these films led their distributor, Warner Bros., to essentially absorb Transatlantic, and it was under this arrangement that Strangers on a Train was made.

But like many filmmakers who struggle with total freedom (and complete responsibility), once those “burdens” are lifted, Hitchcock returned to form. Always a skilled visual stylist, his composition and camera work take a leap forward in this first of a dozen collaborations with cinematographer Robert Burks, who would receive his first of four Oscar nominations for this film. Their expressive use of framing, light, and movement brings a new dimension to the familiar Hitchcockian themes of the doppelgänger, voyeurism, and the wrongly accused, and is just one reason why it is worth getting to know Strangers on a Train.

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Thursday, July 13 · 6:30 pm

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