Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/hitchcock.htm
USA 1951

The problem when approaching any of the major Hitchcock’s are, that they will overwhelm one to such a degree, that they overshadow any other film and one almost instinctively thinks “the best”. The amount of details, the care for them, the perfection in direction, the playfulness, the structure of the narrative, the depth of even the simplest characters, are but few of the elements, which still today, over a half of a century later, makes his film so breathtaking and inviting. One can revisit them countless times, yet they never grow old nor boring, quiet the opposite, the more you watch, the more you want to watch. While being simple suspense thrillers on the surface, each of them posses an intelligent literary thematic depth, which makes them timeless classics.

One of these is “Strangers on a Train”, based upon the novel by Patricia Highsmith, telling the story about Guy, who meets the eccentric Bruno by accident on a train, hence the title. Over lunch they talk about, amongst other things, what stands in their way for happiness. In the case of Guy, its his wife, who he wants to divorce in order to marry the woman he loves, in the case of Bruno, its his dominating father. Bruno then explains Guy his idea of the perfect murder: two strangers, who both want someone out of their lives simply swap murders. Guy dismisses the idea, but when Bruno goes forward with the idea and kills Guy’s wife, and then later blackmails Guy into doing his part of the deal, Guy is caught.

Hitchcock’s version differs somewhat from Highsmiths. In the book Guy is an architect, in the film, he is a tennis-pro. In the film, Guy doesn’t kill Bruno’s father, in the book he does and stands trial for the murder. Finally, where the item for bonding in the film is Guy’s lighter, it’s a mere book, in the book. Hitchcock wasn’t so much interested in the story, than the elements of the story. Thus he took the idea for the double murders – crisscross, a term that today is universal recognizable – and the sub motif of homosexuality. The nature of the crisscross was to Hitchcock a game, where the ball, metaphorically, is in either's court, hence the change of Guy from architect to tennis-pro.

The central theme in “Strangers on a Train” is the doppelganger, the double. There are two (potential) murders, two women with glasses (Miriam and Barbara), Miriam has two boys, Guy has two women (Miriam and Ann), there are two rich matrons at the party, there are two carousel sequences and in the final release version, Hitchcock ends the film with a second random meeting caused by shoes hitting each other, here with a minister, suggesting another meeting of “strangers” as Ann and Guy are about to be married. Furthermore, Hitchcock plays with the word itself and uses it time and time again: “I suppose you are going to Southampton for the doubles”, “two drinks – doubles”. And to top it all off, Hitchcock is carrying a bass in his cameo, doubling his shape.

It is also in “Strangers on a Train” we see the most ingenious structure of suspense of any Hitchcock film. As Bruno is on his way to the fairground to plant the lighter, Hitchcock can’t resist the temptation of having Guy playing a tennis match and by having the score change time and time again, increase the tension, as Guy has to intercept Bruno. A simple stretching of time mechanism, but in the hands of the master of suspense, it literary becomes a match of life and death.

Today, “Strangers on a Train” still is amongst the most discussed, analyzed and celebrated films of Alfred Hitchcock. Likewise, it is amongst his most flawless structured and most suspenseful films. It is timeless and will forever be one of the best films ever made.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 30, 1951

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

NOTE: On the New DVD, the UK version is called "PREVIEW release". US version is called 'FINAL release version'

Warner (Two-Disc Special Edition - UK version also called "Preview release') - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner (Double Feature -'Flipper' - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner  (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release - US version aka "Final release version') - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner  (Double Feature - 'Flipper'- US version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Also comes in The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection which includes - Strangers on a Train Two-Disc Edition / North by Northwest / Dial M for Murder / Foreign Correspondent / Suspicion / The Wrong Man / Stage Fright / I Confess / Mr. and Mrs. Smith

               

Runtime 1:42:50 1:42:50 1:40:40 1:40:45 1:40:48.876
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.74 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.74 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.92 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,823,165,620 bytes

Feature: 26,330,155,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version)

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version)

 

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono English 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono English, 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono French

1.0 Dolby Digital Mono English, 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono French, 2.0 Dolby Digital English (AC)

1.0 Dolby Digital Mono English, 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono French

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1054 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1054 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio German 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles

All DVDs have English, French, Spanish and None

English (SDH), French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

A Hitchcock Classic (36:39)
An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan (12:43)
A Victims POV (7:19)
The Hitchcocks on Hitch (11:17)
Newsreel: Alfred Hitchcock meets Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson (1:05)
 

DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
Double Keep Case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers:
• Foreign Correspondent
• Strangers on a Train
• I Confess
• Dial M for Murder
• North by Northwest
• Newsreel: Alfred Hitchcock meets Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson (1:09)

DVD Release Date: September 15, 1998
Snapper case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, Colleagues, Aficionados, Famil
• Trailer

 

DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
Double Keep Case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailers:
• Foreign Correspondent
• Strangers on a Train
• I Confess
• Dial M for Murder
• North by Northwest
• Newsreel: Alfred Hitchcock meets Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson (1:09)

DVD Release Date: September 15, 1998
Snapper case

Chapters 33

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,823,165,620 bytes

Feature: 26,330,155,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
 Audio Commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, Colleagues, Aficionados, Family members etc.
 Preview Version (1:42:57 in 480i)

Behind the Scenes:

 Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic (12:46)

 Strangers on a Train: The Victim's POV (7:22)

Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan (12:46)

 The Hitchcocks on Hitch (11:20)

Alfred Hitchcock's historical meeting with Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson (1:08)

 Theatrical Trailer (2:34)

Blu-ray Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Standard
Blu-ray case

Chapters 33

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray (September 2012): Firstly, the longer British version is here (called the 'Preview Version') as an extra but only in 480i and seems to be the same transfer as the last 2-disc DVD (also taking up about 6.5 Gig). The image quality is improved in all the expected areas - less noise (notable issue on the DVDs), better grain structure, rise in detail, and the layered contrast is a marked improvement. This 1080P, dual-layered AVC transfer looks very nice in-motion. Any softness appears to be inherent in the original.

As well as a host of foreign language DUBs we get the original in an authentic DTS-HD Master mono track at a modest 1054 kbps. There isn't a lot to export beyond the frequently rousing Dimitri Tiomkin score which really pulls much of the tension together. There are many optional subtitles on the region FREE disc.

Extras duplicate a combination of almost all the DVDs with the group audio commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, Colleagues, Aficionados, Family members etc. - it's still relevant and quite entertaining. The UK version aka 'Preview Version' is included as an extra but only transferred in 480i. Under the heading 'Behind the Scenes' we get the previous 45-minutes worth of vides; Strangers on a Train: A Hitchcock Classic (12:46), Strangers on a Train: The Victim's POV (7:22) dissecting the murder scene, Strangers on a Train: An Appreciation by M. Night Shyamalan (12:46), The Hitchcocks on Hitch (11:20) and Alfred Hitchcock's historical meeting with Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson. There is also a theatrical trailer in SD only.

Hitchcock on Blu-ray - and one of the Masters most interesting. What is not to recommend? Warner appears to have done an admirable job with the a/v and supplements. With that and the stature of the film we give a very strong recommendation!    

 - Gary W. Tooz

***

ON THE DVDs: There are three differences between the two versions (US version is the final release version, UK version is the prerelease version):

The first encounter between Bruno and Guy on the train is longer in the UK version and features a more obvious homoerotic flirtation by Bruno. The duration differences here consists of various cuts: For instance, the UK version has a 28 second longer bar scene.

In the scene, where Guy sneaks out of his apartment to go to Bruno's house, a shot of him opening a drawer to get the map Bruno sketched and guy sneaking out of the house down the fire escape is added (1:05:45 to 1:06:26). In the US version the scene cuts from Guy looking out the window to Guy sneaking down the fire escape.

The very last scene in the US version, which involves a clergyman, was deleted in the UK version (1:40:07 to 1:40:27).

There is a world in difference between the two DVD versions. The 04 SE is superior: it is sharper, has more details and is darker, allowing shadows to be more efficient. The difference is even more visible on the preview version, where the 98 flipper is very grainy, while the 04 SE has the same texture, details and darkness as the final release version.

I have to note upon the differences between the two frames. While both has the format 1.33:1, the image on the 98 flipper UK version seems "stretched". This is because because the 98 flipper was scanned from the OAR of 1.37:1, while the 04 SE has been reformatted from 1.37:1 to 1.33:1. If one measures single frame elements, the 04 SE is aprx 2% horizontal squeezed vs. the 98
flipper, which matches the difference between 1.37:1 and 1.33:1. Strangely enough however is, that the title image has the format of 1.37:1, then being reformatted to 1.33:1 as the film "begins".

There is nothing much to be said about the additional material on the 98 flipper, which cannot be said about the 04 SE.

Starting out the final release version has an audio commentary by Audio Commentary hosted by producer Laurent Bouzereau with Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson (Patricia Highsmiths biographer), Colleagues, Aficionados, Family and Hitchcock himself. The commentary is composed, meaning, that the respectable person will comment towards his field. The Hitchcock commentary are excerpts from interviews. While the commentaries
has its ups and downs (Bogdanovich is at times very boring), this is a
highly informative and very insightful composed commentary track.

Disc 2 starts out with a newly produced documentary about the film, where several key figures discuss the film, its production and so forth. Tightly structured, it is quiet amazing what they get into half an hour. Following this comes three new featurettes. The first is Shyamalan talking about why he likes the film so much. Repeat after me: SKIP. Next comes an interview with Laura Elliot about her glasses and ending it all some personal memories of Hitchcock. Much of the information here overlaps with the audio commentary. To end it all is the newsreel segment where Hitchcock meets Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson, which also was on the 98 flipper.

 - Henrik Sylow

 


Menus

(New 'UK' edition - RIGHT vs. Older 'UK' - 2nd vs. New 'US' -3rd vs. Older 'US' - RIGHT)

(Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - 2nd vs. Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - 3rd vs. Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

 

 

Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Preview release - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - UK version) - Region 1 - NTSC - - SECOND

3) Warner Home Entertainment (Two-Disc Special Edition - Final release) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Warner Home Entertainment (Double Feature - US version) - Region 1 - NTSC FOURTH

5) Warner  - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Additional sequences

More Blu-ray Captures


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

Also comes in The Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection which includes - Strangers on a Train Two-Disc Edition / North by Northwest / Dial M for Murder / Foreign Correspondent / Suspicion / The Wrong Man / Stage Fright / I Confess / Mr. and Mrs. Smith

               




 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...