The carousel set piece had my jaw on the floor - I can't imagine how absolutely thrilling that would've been in 1951. Hitch does a fantastic job as always, but the suspense he got out that hurried tennis match in the latter half of the film was especially sensational.
Rarely has the influence of German expressionism been mainlined so directly into noir. One of Hitchcock's absolute best, and like all his best, the complexity is not just in the plot or central narrative tension, but in the whole uncanny atmosphere of the movie - that synthesis of all its aesthetic aspects - whose blend of macabre liberation and unspeakable terror makes the theme park an obvious central location.
Hitchcock's planning of his films with elaborate storyboards often led him to being bored on set but certainly paid off in creating a classic series of thrillers. From the innovative visual design (the tennis match/drain sequence wow) to the well thought out scripting this is classic Hitchcock. Robert Walker is one of the great all time screen villains well matched with his unwilling partner in crime Farley Granger.
the first half (?) is so beautifully AND erotically shot that I must have pissed my pants watching it. I'm still not sure why the look of the film changes in the second half, but for whatever the reasons there is one (chase) sequence that is incredibly un-Hitchcock and at the same time unmistakably his. For better or for worse, the over the top carousel sequence is campy and laughable.
tfw random dudes come up to you and offer to murder people for you and you gotta be like "um no thx...." Manages the rare feat of being both funny and genuinely suspenseful at the same time, thanks in large part to villainous Bruno, the most charming lunatic murderer you'd ever hope to (not) meet. A good bit of fun but, like most Hitchcock, feels too "fluff" and the ending's too unsatisfying to really call Great. B-.