101 minutes, U.S.A., 1951, Black and White, 35mm

Although his 50-year career in the industry never went into serious decline, the early 1950s marked a relatively low point for Hitchcock, but he bounced back strongly with this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel about an exchange of murders between two men, one (Robert Walker) very aware of what he is doing, the other (Farley Granger) much less so.

The psychological complexities of the story are rigorously worked out in the course of a narrative filled with classic suspense sequences, from the opening scene of an apparently chance meeting on a train through a hectic championship tennis match to the final confrontation on an out-of-control carousel at an amusement park. Look out not only for Hitchcock’s own cameo appearance, but for his daughter Pat in a more significant glasses-wearing role.

This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Two. A full retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films is taking place at the IFI from December 2012 to March 2013.

A six-week Evening Course, Shadow of a Genius, will look at the work of directors influenced by Hitchcock and will take place from February 5th to March 12th. 

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