The amount of comedy on display here is pretty staggering, in no small part due to the fact that Strangers on a Train is an Alfred Hitchcock classic. On the whole, the film is a slick cat-and-mouse game between a social giant (Farley Granger’s “Guy Haines”) and a straight-up sociopath (Robert Walker’s calculating “Bruno”), using a brilliantly-shot murder as the catalyst for blackmail and personal-space infiltration. That murder sequence, by the way, is worthy of its own Scenes Of Mine recognition, so I’ll no doubt give it the full-post distinction in due time. Perfectly paced as a flirtation, Bruno follows Guy’s philandering wife through a carnival, ultimately strangling her once they both exit a “Tunnel of Love” water ride. The hands-around-the-neck strike is shown through her eyeglasses, which have fallen to the grass, left as an inanimate bystander, a bifocal POV to homicide.
But that’s not the cause of this discussion, so we’ll save that one. Throw it in the bag, so to speak. Here, I’m focused on the film’s climactic last sequence, set in the same carnival-space as the above-cited murder. Guy and Bruno converge at the locale of the crime, where Bruno plans to plant evidence to implicate Guy as his wife’s killer. Before he’s able to do so, however, Bruno is confronted by Guy, and the two wrestle it out on a speeding carousel. The reason why the carousel is moving at a breakneck speed is the first instance of pure hilarity—-a horrible police officer, hoping to catch Guy in the back with a bullet, fires directly into the kid-and-parent-packed carousel, catching the ride’s operator with a slug, the operator’s lifeless arms pulling the lever dangerously down. From there, we’re treated to a chiseled old man coming to the rescue, as if on comic cue; Bruno nearly killing a little kid; tons of exaggerated screams and Help-Me cries; and a solution to the carousel’s unruliness that causes more destruction than aid.
Maybe I’m just an ass, and this isn’t funny at all. Could very well be the case. The shit is laughable gold to me, though, a bizarre and no-doubt-thrilling conclusion to an otherwise controlled and restrained picture. Enjoy, spoiler-lovers: