Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #13: Criss Cross (Opening Scene of Strangers on a Train)

203 posts in this topic

So, we have the two unseen men crisscrossing paths at Union Station DC, my hometown. The crisscrossing railroad tracks leaving the station. We know that this theme figures into the plot later as the two men trade stories and criminal exercises. Guy's tie has a crisscross pattern.  That's what I noticed so far.

 

Guy's shoes are plain, Bruno's are spectator shoes, kinda flashy. Bruno's clothing, tie, demeanor are attention-seeking, maybe. Guy wants to read his book while Bruno wants to gab. When the two men are getting out of their cabs, the music for Bruno is jazzier than Guy's music

 

Tiomkin's score is busy as we see the train station activity.  Bruno exits his taxi with those spectator shoes, and we hear big band jazz music. Guy's exit from the taxi is accompanied by purposeful music, gotta get to that train.  Tiomkin's score is very important to our experience, as in all his films with Hitchcock. Sets the tone.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The crossed taxi cabs and obvious train tracks stand out.  As well as the contrast of music for each character; one vibrant, one focused.  One of my favorite Hitchcock films.  The great parallel for me is the metaphor of tennis to life.  The choices each character makes to the "volleys" so to speak.  The innocent sister as a casualty in the crosshairs. and then the conclusion in the "carnival" of life is so amazing. really looking forward to an entire community watching this film together Wednesday night!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We see the opening scene with the two sets of train tracks criss crossing, leading us to believe that

there will be two different paths taken.

The two cabs also cross paths.

 

We follow the footsteps of the two main characters. Bruno with his flamboyant spats, and the tie clip with

BRUNO spelled out, for all the world to see; like he is showing off. His suit is more garish and loud. I see Bruno as the "Ne'r Do Well".

Guy as the more famous of the two, being the renowned tennis player. He dresses more conservatively.

A nice suit, and plain shoes, not drawing any attention to himself.

 

The music is also more light and playful as the camera follows Guy's footsteps, like he is going on a

delightful trip.

The music takes on a more suspenseful turn that lends mystery to the story as we follow

Bruno's footsteps.

 

This film has so many of Hitchcock's touches that it is a mesmerizing character study,

capturing our attention right from the start.

Having an intriguing quality of a game to it,that reinforces the criss cross

angle brilliantly!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Two cabs coming into the same station. Two people exiting the cabs heading for the same train. Crossing railway tracks. Shots ont he shoes again and then the two shoes touching. They meet.

2. The contrast is created by the flamboyance of Bruno vs the conservative dress of Guy. He also highlights the outgoing nature of Bruno in their first conversation. 

3. There is much more ominous music being featured when Bruno's cab is pulling into the station. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are so many ways that the notion of criss crossing is presented to us. Obviously the rail lines, but also the car pulling into the station, moving in front of us from left to right. I love the bustling passengers moving in front of us, through and around Bruno and Guy...I think it keeps us grounded in the banal and normal when what is about to happen is far from normal. Later, after Bruno has presented his idea he even quips "criss cross!", with childlike excitement and logic. 

 

Bruno is so disturbing but I can understand how Guy might feel that moment they meet. Haven't we all sat down somewhere with a book only to be interrupted with polite chatter that we feel helpless to escape? If only I'd chosen another seat! The urge to remain polite when a stranger interrupts our routine and even behaves oddly is so utterly understandable. It's also what makes this movie so sinister and Bruno so scary.

 

Incidentally Patricia Hitchcock is really perfect in this movie and in this clip she shares a little about her role.

 
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The criss-crossing in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN can be seen first visually in the opposing direction the two main characters' walk. We only see their feet at this point so I will say that the white shoes (Bruno) always walks to the left (both outside AND inside the train), while the black shoes (Guy) only walks to the right. We must deduce that they will eventually meet or bump into each other. The criss-crossing can also be seen in the train tracks as we focus on the two main paths that cross, then separate. The POV camera shot let's us see the train as a character that picks the path to the right, showing three or four more criss-crossing tracks below. As we go over them, we feel the sense of the upcoming conflicts. Inside the train, I personally love the literal point of showing the crossing of both Bruno's, then Guy's legs as each man sits down. This of course leads to their feet bumping into each other and ultimately, their unintentional and misfortunate connection. 

 

The element of contrast is throughout this film as well. First the obvious white and expensive shoes lets us know that Bruno is wealthy, in contrast with Guy’s shoes which are black, and average. Same basic idea with their luggage. There’s a bit of a twist here as well when we will learn that it is Guy who is famous, and Bruno who is a loser loner. When Bruno says to Guy, “I admire people who do things”, we must wonder if Bruno does anything at all. Another contrast is that Bruno impulsively talks while Guy just wants to dig into his book. Bruno is forceful in invading Guy's space as he comes closer, creepily revealing he has to wear this tie clip because of his mother, then stating he doesn't talk much. Guy just nervously laughs and dives his nose into his book.

 

The music is grandiose in the beginning, similar to the setting here and the shots of this great train station in the heart of America’s capitol. The music moves to more a frolicking pace when the camera is on Bruno’s shoes, and more an industrial rhythm when showing Guy. Then the music goes to a steady walking pacing rhythm, indicating they are both in sync. with each other a bit here, hinting at their upcoming meeting. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.     In the opening sequence to Strangers on a Train, the symbolic visual representation is seen in almost every new shot, from cut to cut. The music cues us to the visual representation as well. First is Bruno’s feet. The camera sits to the right of Bruno’s character, focused on his feet. This contrasts with the shot of Guy getting out of the car in which the camera sits to the left. This suggestion of two opposing characters and entities crossing paths randomly continues in the shots of both characters as they walk; Bruno shot walking toward the left and Guy shot walking toward the right. Again the music is telling us about their character and temperament with shifts in tempo, instrumentation and expression. After they enter the turnstile, we see a shot of the train approaching the station from the POV of the train, the train being immediately injected as a type of character in true Hitchcock form. The tracks criss-cross each other so that the viewer thinks they are going one way and we here a clicking sound suggesting the tracks are switching, and they do as we and the train shift to the right. Continuing on to the train, we see Bruno walking toward the left like before, down the aisle still only focused on his feet as he takes a seat. In contrast, we follow Guy’s feet walking toward the right down the aisle until he sits. The two worlds collide as Guy’s shoe brushes Bruno’s.


2.     To continue the concept of “contrast” and opposite worlds or directions colliding would then be in the character’s themselves. The first glimpse of Bruno is of his tidy and expensive fashion sensibility. From the black and white saddle design, to the well-pressed pin stripe suit. Again in contrast is Guy, normal shoes, normal suit and no hint of an interest in fashion or superficial elements. With the opening lines, the contrast is so humorous and poignant as Bruno recognizes Guy as a tennis star, clearly following trendy events while Guy is keeping to himself. Bruno slowly unfolds his psychopathic behavior when he compliments Guy and says, “oh how I do admire people who do things”. Clearly, Bruno is not only not employed but through this line and the subsequent line referring to his tie clip, “…my mother gave it to me, I have to wear it to please her”, unloads his baggage and psychosis.  This disturbance is furthered by the forceful way he moves close to Guy almost lurching over his shoulder invading his space, telling him to ‘go on reading because he doesn’t talk much’. This we find is a totally untrue statement. Furthermore, Bruno’s attire and his actions suggest that he may be homosexual as he appears to be coming on to Guy.


3.     Tiomkin’s score is another way in which the two characters are contrast and the concept of two worlds coming together is suggested. As stated above, the tempo, instrumentation, and expression within the music is different as we cut between character shots on their feet. The musical daintiness and “light in the loafers” quality of Bruno on the first shot of his shoes is bouncy, flowery and delicate as opposed to the shots of Guy where the music switches to a more masculine, machine like tone. In terms of the overall atmosphere, Tiomkin seems to be creating back and forth motion, crescendo and decrescendo from the opening shot and within the shot of the train tracks.   


  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

 

Attempting to capture these in order of appearance:

  • Background imagery behind credits shows cars passing each other on the road, either from left or right.
  • Bruno exits his taxi sort of from the right.
  • The man who carries Bruno’s luggage enters from the left.
  • Bruno turns left, then right, then left to pay the taxi driver and then walks away toward the station, crossing the roadway.
  • Guy exits his taxi from the left.
  • The man who carries Guy’s luggage enters from the right.
  • Guy twirls to the right as he steps out of the car to pay the driver and head into the station.
  • Guy’s tennis rackets (unseen) have criss-crossing strings within the frames.
  • Shoelaces on both mens’ feet are tied in criss-crosses.
  • Walking across shadows on the ground as they walk toward the station.
  • Bruno enters station from the right; Guy enters from the left.
  • Diamond-patterned tile work on station floor mimics the diamond on the cab doors. (I’m not sure yet what diamonds have to do with anything, but….)
  • People passing in front of each other as they walk through the station.
  • As both men (actually all of the people) walk, their legs make a criss-cross scissor pattern.
  • Walking across another floor with a railing and ceiling lights in view -- all with alternating crossing lines as their structure.
  • As they individually walk through the “gate” leading to the train, there is a criss-cross design on the wall (looks a bit like the Union Jack, but in a square).
  • Train rails head in various directions, overlapping each other.
  • You also see the diamond pattern in the shape of the criss-crossing train rails.
  • Bruno enters the train from the right; passes in front of a woman’s crossed legs.
  • Guy enters the train from the left; passes a woman’s straight (not crossed) legs.
  • Bruno’s legs are crossed before Guy knocks his foot as he’s crossing his own legs.
  • The men are sitting across from each other on the train.
  • Guy is wearing a criss-cross tie.
  • Bruno folds his hands across his chest when they talk, interweaving (criss-crossing) his fingers together.
  • Blinds on the train window aren’t criss-crossed, but they do disrupt the scenery outside because their lines cross over the view.
  • Bruno crosses the aisle to introduce himself and shake Guy’s hand; Guy is facing left, while Bruno is facing right.
  • Light coming in from outside the train puts the shadowy lines of the blinds across Bruno’s right shoulder. Those lines make a criss-cross pattern when paired the lines of Bruno’s vertical pinstripe suit.
  • Creepy lobsters on Bruno’s tie are facing opposite directions (fabric pattern).
  • Bruno re-crosses (interlaces) his fingers when he sits beside Guy and tells him to keep reading.

 

Criss-cross = weaving together (of course :-) )

 

2. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.

 

Bruno:

  • His name (to me) sounds like “Brutus” or “brute”. >> Reminiscent of “Et tu, Brute?” and the fall of Caesar. (Also reminds me of Cinderella’s dog in the Disney movie, but….)
  • Flashy shoes and pants. >> Likes to be noticed.
  • Wears his name on his tie. >> Wants to be known.
  • In reality, he’s a “nobody” (compared to Guy). >> Could be anybody.
  • His personality is oppressive. >> You can’t get away from him no matter how hard you try.
  • Shoes are black and white (seemingly). >> Shows outward conflict between right/wrong.
  • Pinstripe pants are two-tone. >> May foretell two-faced personality, just like the shoes.
  • Guy kicks his shoe when he sits down. >> Shows that Bruno is in Guy’s way. Doesn’t seem to care about who’s space he’s infringing on.
  • Fast talker. >> Comes across as a salesman (shady?).
  • On the train, walks in front of lady with crossed legs. >> His state of mind is askew.

Guy:

  • Has a generic name. >> It’s as if he’s a “nobody”, but he is actually famous (compared to Bruno).
  • Clothes match, but aren’t flashy. Classic but relaxed. >> Comfortable with himself.
  • His personality is quiet/reserved, so he doesn’t stand out. >> Not looking to be noticed.
  • Shoes are a solid color. >> He is (presumably) a solid guy. (And a solid “Guy”!)
  • Sense of timing. >> He is on time to the train station and boarding, but is much more relaxed than Bruno.
  • Non-talker. >> Prefers to read. Likes to keep to himself. Do his own thing without reference to anyone else (unlike Bruno wearing his name pin because his mom gave it to him).
  • On the train, walks in front of lady with straight (not crossed) legs. >> His state of mind is straight and narrow (i.e., good).

 

3. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?

 

During the opening credits, the music is dramatic and classic and serious. The highs and lows in the music hint to the highs and lows and drama we are about to experience in the story.

 

When Bruno arrives in his taxi, the beat peps up and becomes a bit playful (plucky and quick) to hint at his persona and mood and wit. There’s a hint of a jazzy blues feeling in there also.

 

When Guy arrives in his taxi, the music is also playful and light and a bit jazzy, but you don’t get the same sense of pep/frivolity from Guy as you do from Bruno.

 

As the two men walk into the station, the beat walks with them… as though they are marching in time. Then the music shifts to a calmer tone suggesting the classic “everyday” feel of life.

 

Train begins to roll and we get more dramatic music again as something (an adventure?) is lurking ahead…

 

Music quiets down as the two men enter the train car and sit, with a musical emphasis on the moment their feet knock into each other.

 

The next sound is (presumably) the train horn (or something like that) as Bruno recognizes Guy and begins a conversation. Is it a warning to Guy?

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The cabs enter frame from opposite directions. The men walk towards the train from opposite directions. The train tracks literally criss-cross. Finally, the men meet when their crossing feet literally touch. Nothing subtle about this!

 

2. Bruno seems flashy and chatty, based on his clothes and intrusive dialogue. Guy seems more reserved and conservative, based on his lack of dialogue and conservative clothing. Bruno intrudes Guy's privacy and his physical space. You can see the uneasiness on Guy's face as Bruno crosses the train car and takes the seat next to him.

 

3. There were light-hearted musical cues as the men exited the taxis and headed to the train. Upbeat, uptempo score insinuates an innocent train ride. Typical big-city hustle and bustle.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.  Criss cross in the shoes walking, like a tenis match, criss cross the train tracks, the musical themes of both feet, the legs crossing on the train, then talking about criss cross as the topic on the train even criss crossing murders. also sitting across from each other.

Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.  You can tell who is who with the t type of clothes they both wear, the white tip shoes thats Guy, the other Shoes thats Bruno.

While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?   Its the themes of the opening music that get your attention (if you have seen the film)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trains = Fate = Hitch. The Opening Sequence of STRANGERS begins with a framed archway, clues that we are in a capital city. A car pulls through, and is closely guided by curbs. Shoes reveal a dapper passenger & an athletic passenger, they are worlds apart. Train tracks, low shot ~ show the convergence, symbolic of their merge. Shoes again, they cross their legs in the passenger train, heels bump and the meeting of their fates is meshed.

To contrast the two passengers, Bruno & Guy, Hitch reveals that Bruno is 'well-heeled', dapper, wears the suit of upper class, his speech is eloquent, biting; "...do love people who Do things." Guy on the other hand, has athletic shoes, scuffed, a dressed down look outfit, almost a hay seed 'Yuck, yuck," in his dialogue and emulates pedestrian.

Dimitri's ambient sounds of tolling foots emphasize Hitch's theme of guilt. We hear sounds of trumpet, when we see Bruno's two tone shoes. We hear lighter strings when we see Guy's tennis rackets. Sound effects punctuate fate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

 

Everyone who has commented here has already mentioned all the obvious ways--the cabs coming in from different directions, the rails crossing, the protagonists sitting across from each other, even the protagonists crossing the station from different directions. I'd like to add another, different element I keep seeing each time I watch the opening: when we follow the train tracks, they not only "cross," but it also seems that we are going to be taking the straight line but then veer off to the side. To me, this can be seen as a metaphor for the choice that Guy makes in passively going along with Bruno, rather than turning him in before he (Guy) is in too deep.

 

 

Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.

 

The contrasts are so numerous: Bruno's flamboyant suit, spectator shoes, lobster tie with monogrammed tie pin vs Guy's understated, unadorned (and surely) brown suit and shoes. Even the snappy turn of Bruno's feet as he pays off the cab and strides into the station like a baller vs Guy's ("Guy"--like any old guy, or Everyman) sedate, nondescript gait. Guy shows introversion and that he wants to be alone by sitting behind a table, with a book, with his body curled into itself, barely responding with words at all, while Bruno sits wide open and extroverted, speaking relatively loudly for that space, ignoring most of Guy's cues that he'd like to be alone, and then sitting abnormally close for any two men who aren't in a relationship--much less complete strangers.

 

 

While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?

 

One way I noticed was the build-up of tension as the two crossed through the station, as though the two might crash into one another--foreshadowing future trouble between the two. Then Tiomkin allows a plateau for us to release the tension and get comfortable, until the near-silence and flourish as the feet brush against each other on the train--the beginning of all the trouble to come

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.Lots of criss crossing here. The shoes of our main characters, the train tracks, the walkers going into the station.

Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.Clothing goes from flashy (Bruno) to relaxed (Guy). Bruno talks much more, and invades Guy's space on the train.

While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?Music is similar but different as our players head from the taxi to the train. Bruno's is more jazzy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

I have never realized how many "lines" there are in this opening scene. Naturally the criss-crossing of the railway lines, but also the distinct tile lines on the floor before the scene moves to the railway lines of the tracks. Also, the "lines" of the horizontal blinds, which even can be seen in shadow momentarily on Bruno's suit. When the horizontal lines in shadow disappear there is a closeup of Bruno's suit jacket and we can see the lines on his suit. The constant presence of lines intersecting give us that continued sense of the "criss-cross" pattern.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.    In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

 

      Crossed tennis rackets, railroad tracks, legs, shoes, walking through crowds, etc.

 

2.    Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.

 

      Introvert, extrovert, fashion, recreational pursuits (reading vs tennis)

 

3.    While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?

 

           There is a change in tempo when the camera follows each individual into the train station. It is an obvious nod to supporting a contrast between the movements of the two characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

Cabs entering from different directions but ending at the station, the criss-crossing rails, folowing the two men's walk across the station lobby is from two different angles but end at the one gate,  the crossing of feet - Guy's's foot hitting Bruno's, and the characters seated opposte each other then Bruno crossing over to sit next to Guy.

 

2 Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.

Snappy Bruno - spectator shoes, more upscale suit and flashy tie versus Guy's more monotone outfit  - kinda 50s college preppy look and plain shoes - everyman shoes. Bruno seems to pay off the cab driver with a twirl vs. Guys's more simple approach. The way Bruno walks is more self confident almost strutting as opposed to Guy's, again, more average pace. Bruno is alert and analyzing his surroundings and Guy sits behind a table and immediately starts reading his book. Bruno initiates the conversation and literally jumps right into Guy's space and life. He says "I don't talk much" but he;'s done most of the talking and keeps watching what Guy is reading and doing as the scene ends. Overall, Bruno seems to be an affluent man of the world vs. Guy's almost schoolboy, introverted character.

 

3.While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?

The openming gives you the sense of a booming city - the location of the train station - then mimics the movement of people heading towards the gate - many going through a sieve almost - and embarking on a journey. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strangers on a Train: A Musical

 

As the course has progressed, I've continued to see connections to movie musicals, particularly to those of Fred Astaire. Hitchcock's opening sequence also emphasizes feet in motion--the two men are not actually together until the end, but their feet perform a pas de deux reinforced by the walking rhythm of the score. If my viewpoint seems weird, I can only say to check out the famous Walking the Dog number in Shall We Dance with Astaire and Rogers and a Gershwin score. As in ballet, we see a pattern formed by the moving figures as they approach the train and as they they sit in the club car. The whole sequence is elegant and satisfying in its theme and variation on the figure of speech about crossing paths.

 

Of course, the sequence is not just about the figure X. We also get significant information about the people whose feet we are following. One of the men is a dandy with exaggeratedly full pinstriped pants and those rather loud shoes; the other man wears unobtrusive clothes but carries multiple tennis rackets.

 

On the train, Bruno is nervous and quirky and sits uncomfortably close and talks a little too fast. He seems an odd combination of weak and aggressive. Guy is modest and polite and not terribly verbal. The scene could be just the meeting of a fan and a pro, but it feels a lot like an attempted pickup, possibly sexual or perhaps something else.Guy, I think, initiates the much discussed shoe bump. It is most likely inadvertent, but I do wonder if we are supposed to see that the current of attraction goes both ways at some subterranean level.

 

The black and white cinematography is beautiful. The way light makes stars of the shoes and casts a spotlight on the two men after the rather hazy light of the train station just feels so great to look at. Yes, Hitchcock loves the world of trains like John Ford loved stage coaches (though he had some good train scenes, too!)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

July 14, 2017 – Hitchcock lecture Part 13



1. The big one, already mentioned in the lectures is the railway that “criss crosses.” Secondly, both of the men’s feet, the white shoes and the black shoes, cross in the opposite screen directions. The music seems to accommodate this “crisscrossing”. The edit also diametrically opposes the two movements and feet. Each of the men sit and cross their legs. These shots culminate in the wide shot of the two men, sitting across from each other.
 

2. Bruno seems flashier, with his white shoes and pinstripe suit. Guy seems to be more conservative in all black, shoes and dress to match. Bruno is also older, and is the one whose perspective we first engage in as he notices the unsuspecting Guy read something: we see the world first through Bruno’s eyes. Bruno is the one that seems to evoke artificial empathy by bringing up his mother and also by noticing and praising Guy. Guy seems like the more innocent man as he is the one “pursued” by Bruno, and conversely, Bruno is the one with the designs, but what? Hitchcock does a great job in creating this anticipation for what may happen as the two men interact.

 

3. With Copland-esque strings, the score promises adventure and scale.  It also promises conflict between two men, with the first phrase answered by a second similar yet subtly different “response”—each correlating with the different characters’ feet. Their inevitable encounter and “foot tap” is underlined with a strong string hit, a collision of sorts. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Hitchcock plays with or visually manifests the metaphor of criss-crossing in this opening by first showing the criss-crossing of the criss-crosssing automobile traffic in the background as that cab enters the train station arriving; then cutting to Bruno's lower body exiting the cab with close on his shoes all the way, then cutting to the other cab as Guy exits and close on his shoes, a contrast from Bruno's for sure; then cutting to the criss-cross train tracks as the train travels and back to the two gentlemen again as they sit, camera focusing on those shoes again, and then those shoes hitting each other.

I think Hitchcock created a sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno first in their apparel -- the difference in the suits, Bruno high end, flashy, expensive shoes, expensive suit, and funny tie; and Guy subtle, reserved, looking like a Harvard grad in sweater vest and tie; the camera being sure to stay on their shoes; and the talkative Bruno stepping into the reserved Guy's world who seems he just wants to read his book and here comes motor mouth Bruno who even must show and tell Guy his name on the tie and that his mother gave it to him, as he ups and plops himself next to Guy. 

I think the robust and great sounding score functions as part of the mood in that when the men arrive and travel, the music crescendos with sharp violin and then trombones with change as the men exit their cabs and their feet, their shoes, 'march' to the train and when they enter and sit, the music becomes soft then stops as Bruno begins his observations of Guy and begins his chatter.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific....As the rails criss cross they then separate.....just as the two Characters Guy and Bruno....criss cross at their first meeting...Guy tapping the shoe of Bruno but once that happens it is down hill and Guy wants nothing more than to "separate" from Bruno....why because Bruno is a psychopath and what a great one he is ....so creepy ...just a great character Excellent film!!

 

Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example....Well even with the music Bruno shoes are more let's say flamboyant..his tie..even the tie clasp with his name on it....the music is also lighthearted....where Guy is much more conservative in dress..dark preppy clothing..reserved...polite....as they meet Bruno is chatty, annoying...you can see how Guy receives the comment from Bruno about his previous tennis match politely...but then wants to get back to reading....Bruno even moves his seat to be next to Guy....increasing Guys uncomfortable feeling....you immediately get the sense that Bruno is going to be hard to shake off....That is an understatement.... I love the opening as they focus on the feet not showing faces till the tapping of shoes under the table then the characters are introduced

 

While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?.....The music is so powerful even as the films opening credits are shown....the music is very powerful as each taxi door is open...when Bruno gets out it becomes lighthearted...as they are both walking the tempo is in sync with each step they make...as it goes to the rail scene ...again a more somber tone to the music...when they sit down the music goes ba-bump....very effective....as if in a way the music is narrating the story....Again such a great film

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific.

The opening scene is in mirror image - one set of legs and feet exiting a taxi and walking with a porter coming from the right and walking left, the other (less dapperly dressed pair of legs, exits the cab from the left and walks with his porter towards the right.

The next criss cross scene is the overlay of tracks and forward motion of the arriving? train. As a viewer, I’m not sure which track the train will take and I figure there will be some mystery as well in which direction / action the characters will take. Two minutes into the film and I still have yet to see a face - just legs going this way and that. Fancy ones walking to the left and conservative ones to the right. Finally the fancy ones sit, extend, and cross. Conservative feet enter and sit and bunching together - without taking up much room - cross. They bump.

Now we see full body shots, Bruno is more expansive in his slouching manner while Guy, holding reading material has a table close up to him. Bruno is focused outward and says “Excuse me.” Guy in more inward - focused on his book.

Bruno more extroverted starts the conversation - Recognizes him, Complements him, jumps over to sit next to him, shakes hands - gives out personal information (mother) and then says, “I don’t talk much. You go ahead and read.” Guy turns back to his book.

 

  1. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.

 

Guy is dressed conservatively; Bruno is flashy. Guy is quietly reading his book - Bruno is looking around for something to engage with. See Response to Question 1. I’ll have to read others’ discussion board analysis to understand more of how “camera work is helping to create this sense of contrast.”

 

  1. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?

The opening score moves forward the action as it pushes the hearer along - not frenetically, but purposefully. Then the music quiets to allow the audience to hear the announcements, but then picks up more forcefully as the train arrives in the station and the departure time gets closer. Then the music slows down and I figure that the passengers have caught the train and their voyage is underway and the walking legs - still no face - reflects that the hurry is over. When the legs settle down, cross and bump - a loud chord is hit letting the audience know that a significant event just occurred. Then I hear low, unobstructive strings that have a slightly ominous - definitely not cheerful feel. The music fades into the background train sounds - I can’t tell if it is playing or not.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1)   The obvious ones are that of the train tracks and the crosscutting of Bruno and Guy’s feet. Even though these may be obvious ones, I feel like they are quite effective because it acts as foreshadowing to their eventual meeting inside the train car, which is more apparent when the audience sees both men entering the same terminal.

 

2)   The main way that I see the contrasting between Bruno and Guy is their clothing. Bruno is dressed in more attention getting clothes, with wing-tip shoes, while guy is, basically, in monochromatic clothing, making him less noticeable.

 

Another way I see contrasting is through their dialogue and demeanor. Bruno is more relaxed and acts like a fast-talking salesman whose main motive is persuasion and manipulation when he smells a weak person, while Guy is more introverted and acts like he is trying to blend in with no intention of meeting or socializing with people on the train.

 

3)   The Tiomkin score furthers shows the differences between Bruno and Guy. Even though the music for both is virtually the same, there are slight changes for each one. When Bruno exits his cab, the music is stronger in notation, compared to when Guy exits his cab, the music has a lighter and delicate notation in one area.

 

The overall feel that Tiomkin’s score gives the opening sequence is that of which mimics the hustle and bustle of a train station and of people trying to make their boardings. You can hear the ‘hurry’ in the music, which I find quite effective in portraying the mood.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading some of the posts to this question, I admit I missed most of the visible criss cross. I got the obvious tracks, legs, but I did follow the directors eye for the shoes.

Shoes say so much about a person. Showing Bruno as a flashing guy and guy a regular guy, even if a little famous. Naming the roles with intent. The score very dramatic and dark, hold on for a hitch ride.

 

The darkness of this film surpasses all his other work. His best example of film noir, maybe his only.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Let's see there is the crossing of traffic of people in the train station, crossing of legs in the train car, and crossing of the tracks so three times. (Basically they're on the same track lol).

 

2. Bruno has more designer type apparel from his shoes to his tie   while Guy has more of a conservative wardrobe. The camera angle is on Bruno's shoes first which tells me that he has more importance than Guy.

 

3. I think that Tiompkin's musical score sets the mood for the whole movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1)  The first criss cross we see are the cars moving back and forth on the street outside the train station.  We then see Bruno's cab pull up and he exits to the left, followed by Guy exiting his cab to the right.  We see each man make their way through the station to the train where one enters from one side, and the other enters from the opposite side.  Bruno crosses his legs and then is bumped by Guy's foot from across the aisle.  Those are the obvious references and I'm sure there are subtle ones as well, flooring designs, elements in the station, Guy's tie...the diamond pattern seems to be used as a criss cross reference as well.

 

2)  Hitchcock creates a sense of contrast with shoes, luggage, the bit of suit we get to see and the music followed by the scene in the train where we confirm what the clothing and music already hinted at.  Bruno is flashy, a talker and very much an "in your face" type of person.  Guy, on the other hand, is more conservative, quiet and reserved. 

 

3)  The score is interesting in that it is similar when both Bruno and Guy exit their taxis, yet slightly different.  Different enough that we get a different feeling for Bruno then Guy and coupled with the visual cues, it helps us determine who each man is.  The music also, criss crosses, if you will, back and forth from a lighter upbeat tempo to booming brass beat that seems to reach a crescendo when the men both enter the station preparing us for their meeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us