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STRANGERS ON A TRAIN ($20) is certainly one of Hitchcock’s greatest and most recognizable cinematic works. With its iconic murder reflected in a pair of glasses, and climatic carousel ride, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is a Hitchcock film that is not easily forgotten. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN features an ingenious plot device that should allow two perfect strangers to get away with murder. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN stars Farley Granger as tennis player Guy Haines, who has a chance meeting with Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), a person who proves to have an uncomfortable amount information about Guy’s personal life. Aware that Guy has an unfaithful wife he wishes to divorce, Bruno lays out a plan of crisscrossing murders, one in which Bruno would kill Guy’s wife, and in exchange, Guy would kill Bruno’s overbearing and interfering father. Although Guy wants nothing to do with Bruno insane, but seemingly brilliant plan, Guy tries humoring Bruno... as a means of getting away from this charming lunatic he met on the train. Thinking nothing more of his chance encounter on the train, Guy visits his hometown, where he has a heated argument with his estranged wife, who no longer wants to grant him a divorce. However, after Guy returns to Washington DC, he discovers Bruno has killed Guy’s wife, and then Bruno threatens to expose the tennis player as his wife’s murderer, if he doesn’t carry out his part of the "bargain." The cast of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN also features Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia Hitchcock, Kasey Rogers and Marion Lorne.

Warner Home Video has made STRANGERS ON A TRAIN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. STRANGERS ON A TRAIN features a fairly terrific 1080p black and white presentation that will please fans of this Hitchcock classic. Robert Burks’ cinematography is very nicely reproduced here. The image appears very crisp, with very nice definition. Fine detail and texturing are also pretty wonderful looking on this Blu-ray. Due to the optical processing work, and Hitchcock's penchant for rear projection, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN displays some softness in places. Grayscale is rich and varied, offering deep blacks, pure whites and all shades in between. Contrast is generally very smooth. The elements from which STRANGERS ON A TRAIN has been transferred is free of excessive blemishes or other excessive signs of age. Film grain is ever present, providing STRANGERS ON A TRAIN a very organic appearance.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As this is an over six-decade-old vintage soundtrack, there are decided limitations to the fidelity. Still, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN sounds pretty darn good. Dimitri Tiomkin’s music comes across rather nicely, without sounding overly thin. Most signs of background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, which leaves a generally smooth quality to the soundtrack. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital monaural tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a preview release version of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, ported from the previous DVD release and presented in standard definition. Next up, the theatrical version of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN features an audio commentary with Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, and Robert Osborne amongst others. Other supplements ported from the DVD release include the making of documentary program Strangers On A Train: A Hitchcock Classic (thirty-six minutes), Strangers On A Train: An Appreciation By M. Night Shyamalan (twelve minutes) Strangers On A Train: The Victim's P.O.V. (seven minutes with actress Kasey Rogers), The Hitchcocks On Hitch (eleven minutes of home movies narrated by family members), Alfred Hitchcock's Historical Meeting (vintage newsreel footage) and a Theatrical Trailer.

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is iconic Hitchcock and one of the Master of Suspense' most entertaining thrillers. The Blu-ray presentation is excellent. Highly recommended.


Strangers On A Train [Blu-ray] (2012)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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