Ever wondered what's going through the minds of major tennis stars when they're in competition? For Guy Haines (Farley Granger), it's knowing that he's expected to kill the father of a man who's already proven himself capable of carrying out murderous threats. How did Guy get himself into such an incredible situation? How else but courtesy of Alfred Hitchcock, as he up-ends and twists the world of one man for the thrills of the watching audience.
A chance encounter on a train provides the entry point for Guy into the realm of psychotic charm that is fellow passenger Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker). Within an hour of them meeting, Bruno exclaims, "I'm your friend remember, I like you. I'd do anything for you." It's a promise that should chill Guy to the bone, especially when Bruno proposes that he'll dispose of Guy's harridan wife if, in return, Guy murders Bruno's meddling old father. Guy dismisses the idea, until he realises just how serious Bruno is about his half of the agreement.
Hitchcock's favourite device of an ordinary man caught in an ever-tightening web of fear plunges Guy into one of the director's most fiendishly effective movies. Ordinary Washington locations become sinister hunting grounds that mirror perfectly the creeping terror that slowly consumes Guy, as the lethally smooth Bruno relentlessly pursues him to a frenzied climax. Fast, exciting, and woven with wicked style, this is one of Hitchcock's most efficient and ruthlessly delicious thrillers.
Hopefully none of this year's Wimbledon stars have murder in mind.