Interlibrary loan is a wonderful thing… when it works right. I put in a request for Strangers on a Train almost two weeks ago, and it just came in yesterday afternoon. While I was wondering if it would show up in time, I decided to watch the movie. This may have been a mistake, since the storylines differ significantly.
A seemingly insignificant yet interesting difference is Bruno’s name. In the book he’s Charles Anthony Bruno, mainly referred to as Bruno. In the movie he’s Bruno Anthony. Guy Haines is Guy Haines in both, and the book calls him Guy. So in the book we’re on a first name basis with one character, yet on a not formal but less familiar basis with the other. Highsmith lets us into both of their heads, so it’s not like we know one better than the other. Maybe she’s trying to create a subtle distance between Bruno and us.
I suppose Bruno is his first name in the movie to emphasize the creepy over-familiarity he takes with people. In the film, we’re introduced to the characters by their feet, which in itself has a kind of creepy over-familiarity. I don’t know much about shoes or the styles of 1950, but Bruno looks rather eccentric to me right from the start. Just as in the novel, their relationship starts with some accidental footsie.