—as he always did in order to keep the price low— which Highsmith accepted. The winning bid was $7,500, and Highsmith was reportedly annoyed when she heard that Hitch was the bidder, realising she could have asked for a higher price.
Having secured the film rights to "Strangers on a Train", Hitch remembered to thank the woman who had made him take note of Highsmith's novel in the first place. Ramona Herdman was publicity director at Harper & Brothers (Highsmith's publisher) and had sent him a copy of the novel to read. On 17 May 1950, Hitch sent Miss Herdman the following thank-you note, informing her that he would be using the novel for his next film. Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" was released in 1951, starring Robert Walker and Farley Granger, and is generally regarded as one of his finest efforts.
Source: Patricia Highsmith Papers (Swiss Literary Archives)
10957 BELLAGIO ROAD, BEL-AIR, LOS ANGELES 24, CALIFORNIA
May 17, 1950
Miss Ramona Herdman
Harper & Brothers
49 East 33rd Street
New York 16, N.Y.
Dear Miss Herdman,
I know this is a very belated note, but thought you would like to know that as a result of your sending me "Strangers on a Train" I'm using it as the basis for my next picture.
Note: Raymond Chandler was hired by Hitchcock to write the screenplay for "Strangers on a Train". To read about their troublesome collaboration and the angry letter Chandler wrote to Hitchcock, feel free to visit this post.