The abiding terror in Alfred Hitchcock’s life was that he would be accused of a crime he did not commit. This fear is at the heart of many of his best films, including STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951), in which a man becomes the obvious suspect in the strangulation of his wife. … He makes an excellent suspect because of the genius of the actual killer’s original plan: Two strangers will “exchange murders,” each killing the person the other wants dead. They would both have airtight alibis for the time of the crime, and there would be no possible connection between killer and victim … STRANGERS ON A TRAIN is … a first-rate thriller … It proceeds, as Hitchcock’s films so often do, with a sense of private scores being settled just out of sight … The movie is usually ranked among Hitchcock’s best (I would put it below only VERTIGO, NOTORIOUS, PSYCHO, and perhaps SHADOW OF A DOUBT, and its appeal is probably the linking of an ingenious plot with insinuating creepiness. (excerpted from a review by Roger Ebert, January 1, 2004)
Some Trivia: Hitchock’s daughter, Patricia, plays the role of Barbara Morton in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. She is the last surviving member of the cast. Hitchcock’s cameo occurs 11 minutes into the film. The scene was directed by Patricia Hitchcock.