Dr. Rich Edwards

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

203 posts in this topic

1. There are several references to the cris-cross during the opening scene.

A. Traffic crosses each other during the opening credits.

B. Bruno arrives in a cab with a black diamond and white lettering. Guy arrives in a cab with the diamond and lettering in reverse to

Bruno's.

C. The foot traffic entering the gate comes from different directions.

D. Each enter the car from different directions.

E. They sit across from each other.

F. They both cross their legs.

G. Bruno is a flashy dresser. This includes his tie tack with his name, the horrible tie and the two tone shoes (they remind me of golf or

bowling shows).

H. Bruno is an extrovert and pushy.

I. Guy on the other hand dresses more conservatively. He wears a dark suit, one tone dark shoes and a shirt and tie that doesn't stand

out.

J. Guy is an introvert and would rather be left alone to read his book. He basically ignores Guy with short answers. Even to the point

when Guy sits next to him he ignores him.

K. The shot of the rails crossing to may an X.

 

2. The obvious difference is in the way they dress. Bruno is much more flamboyant, while Guy is quiet and reserved. Bruno dominates the

scene and over powers Guy with it. Bruno forces himself on Guy. This is further demonstrated by moving next to Guy and leaning over

him while he tries to read.

3. The music during the credits the music is dark, foreboding and building suspense. When they get out of their respective cabs the music

is much lighter. The music does get darker as it shows the tracks and stops when they bump shoes.

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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 waling in from different directions in the station and on the train, the cross of legs and of course, the crossing of the train tracks.

 

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. The camera shows them entering from different sides of the station and the train, Bruno is walking faster it seems with flashier clothes, particularly the shoes and  Guy is far more conservative. Guy wants to read and stays on his side of the train. Bruno is more high strung and moves over to Guy's side of the train.

 

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 music is both ominous as the cabs and trains are moving and lighter as the two men are walking through the station.

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1. Criss crosses

      -train tracks

      -come from different directions onto the train

      -tennis rackets held in a crossed way?

      -the opening shot of train station archway looks like a church arch implying a cross?

      -They both cross their legs (different than the woman next to guy whose feet are together)

    

2. Clothes

 

    Bruno's's two tone shoes evoke Uncle Charlie's shoes. They're jazzy, dandyish, bright. 

    Guy's shoes are simple durable, masculine. 

    Bruno's pants are shorter to show off shoes, socks- maybe more tailored?

    Guy's pants are longer, cover the socks, more sober, modest, off the rack.

    Bruno's lobster tie evokes opulent vacations, self indulgence, pleasure.

    Guy's checked tie is tucked into a schoolboyish sweater.

    Bruno's got stripes & a contrasting show handkerchief.

    Guy had no hankerchief & dark sweater matches blazer matches pants matches shoes.

 

    Luggage

    

    Bruno's bag looks like a fancy pigskin or expensive but a little worn out from lots of travel?

    Guy's bag looks masculine, practical, durable, not as easy to scratch or damage.

    Guy has two tennis rackets indicating he's got a partner or coeval.  Bruno has a tie pin that   

    that his mother bought him- indicating he's a loner still partnered to his mother.

    

    Music

 

    Bruno's soundtrack is jazzy, suggestive, almost winking at scoundrelly behavior.

    Guy's is more straight laced of an ambitious straight shooter.

 

    Physicality

 

    Bruno stands with his leg at a fey angle suggesting femininity.

    Guy marches with masculine and athletic confidence. 

    Bruno sits down with careful grace of someone aware of his surroundings. 

    Guy plops down on the wrong side of a table and slides over and knocks into Bruno carelessly.

    Bruno leaps out of his seat and cozies up to Guy in a graceful catlike flash. 

    Bruno sits down with a sort of expectation- what's going to happen next.

    Guy has a book ready and no other defensive mechanism for fending off unwanted advances.

 

    Speech

    Bruno launches into confident charming informed conversation with no fear. He uses dynamic

    expressions such as "blasted off the court".

    Guy's very much like simple one word responses of a jock.

    Bruno lies right away by saying "I won't bother you" and then proceeds to bother him. He also

    makes a funny cutting reference to his mother.

    Guy is much slower on the uptake and doesn't offer any information or banter. 

 

3. The music describes and illuminates character. It performs an auditory version of a criss-cross by

    blending and remixing musical styles that describe each character. It underscores the movement

    of the train- the sense that something inevitable has been set in motion. It's playful at times and

    foreshadowing the next. 

    

 

   

 

    

 

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Most everyone has shared about the criss-crossing, but the most important focus for me is Hitchcock’s low angle view of feet.  I have mentioned before (Pleasure Garden, 39 Steps) how he introduces us to characters and settings by way of feet, but in this short opening scene he extends that trope. Wow.


 


For example, we have the black and white shoes of Bruno exiting the Diamond cab in a darkened tunnel or passageway versus the monotone (brown, maybe?) shoes of Guy exiting the cab in broad daylight.  These two travelers then traverse pavements, thresholds, and tile—covering a lot of ground—to meet by way of their respective shoes clashing “under the table.” 


 


 


While this collision seems the overriding metaphor for the entire film, one could also trace the idea of clandestine, "under the table," moves that set the entire narrative in motion.


 


Hitchcock was such a literary man, it surprised me that he and Chandler parted ways on this script, particularly as these two men shared and underlying vision regarding guilt and innocence, fate and volition.


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Hitchcock's many uses of shots of things criss crossing in the opening scene of Strangers on a Train is surely widespread. First we have the shots of two different sets of feet with two different styles of shoe which says to me that this to men are from different walks of life but their paths may soon cross. Second we have the train tracks crossing one another which says to me that there are many people on these trains who are all going in many different directions. Last we have the two sets of feet again both pointing in opposite directions which I took to meant that these two men's lives are going to go in opposite directions.

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I apologize in advance for any possible spoilers in my responses.  I will try to keep them to a minimum; however, I do want to note that Bruno seems to serve as a precursor to Norman Bates, who both "go a little crazy sometimes"?

 

 

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.

 

 

Hitchcock immediately establishes the criss-cross motif with the alternating camera shots of the two taxis approaching the station from different directions and the alternate shots of Bruno's and Guy's shoes.  Right away, we know that the owners of these shoes will play a crucial role in this film.  Hitchcock continues with the motif with the tracking shot as Bruno walks down the aisle of the train car, keeping the focus on his black and white shoes, and concluding when he sits down and crosses his legs.  I theorize that Bruno knows already that Guy will be on the train, and that this is not just a chance encounter?  Even though it is Guy who bumps Bruno's foot when he also crosses his legs, it is Bruno who initiates the conversation: Bruno who does not like to be crossed, as he says later in the film; Bruno who "helps" Guy when Guy is also crossed later in the film.  Another element that Hitchcock uses to establish the criss-cross motif (as noted in today's discussion with Drs. Edwards and Gehring) is the shot of the train lines crossing 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.

 

 

Guy is quiet, reserved, even modest.  He'd rather sit quietly so he can read during his trip.  And he seems humble when Bruno talks about Guy's recent tennis victory.  (We learn later that Guy is perhaps too nice, which is the source of some of his trouble later in the film?)   By contrast, Bruno is loud and aggressive.  He knows Guy is trying to read, yet he won't let him.  Bruno says he doesn't talk very much.  However, right after the film clip ends, Bruno continues to talk to Guy, inviting Guy to lunch in his car after having just met him, distracting him with a plan that he keeps hinting at, another reason I think Bruno had foreknowledge that Guy would be on that train.  And here is why I compare Bruno to Norman Bates to an extent.  He comes across as being very friendly and even ingratiating, crossing the aisle to sit next to Guy, even though Guy would rather be left alone.  He's just being friendly, right?  And he looks completely innocuous, right?  He is that boy next door, just as Norman is as well.  I may be wrong, but I think the black and white shoes represent Bruno's duality.  Outwardly, he can be friendly to others in order to curry favor.  Outwardly, he seems innocent.  He can be caring and helpful.  In a very powerful scene, Hitchcock masterfully establishes this contrast by having Bruno help a blind man right after Bruno has committed a rather heinous act.  Technically, I'm not sure this qualifies as sociopathic behavior?  But it does show the duality of Bruno's personality.  And one other note about Bruno's clothing is his tie clip with his name on it.  Nothing happens by accident in a well-crafted film, especially in a Hitchcock film.  If Hitchcock shows you a tie clip and has the character talk about it, you know it will be important later.  And that is certainly the case with this accessory.

 

 

 

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?

 

 

I think Tiomkin deliberately begins the film score with a light-hearted, upbeat tempo as an ironic contrast to what will ultimately happen between these two strangers on a train.  The music doesn't suggest any impending doom as the two men walk toward the train station.  Granted, we see only their feet, so we cannot tell if there is any tension on Bruno's face, for he would be the one to feel negative emotions at this point.  However, given his ability to hide his motives and charm others, would he show any negative emotion anyway?  There is nothing in the musical score to raise the viewers' suspicions (other than the fact that this is a Hitchcock film, and other than The Farmer's Wife and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we know how his films usually end).  However, I did note that occasionally the tempo of the strings did pick up at times while they were walking to hint at some underlying dread?  Perhaps I am reading too deeply.  Also, as a minor spoiler, I realize this is Tiomkin; however, later in the film, when Bruno places a long-distance call to Guy, the music in the background as he is walking toward the phone reminded me a bit of the music by Bernand Hermann during the shower scene in Psycho.  However, overall, I think the music in this clip effectively lulls the viewer into a false sense of security, thinking nothing bad will happen, at least not at this point.

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Earlier comments have covered a lot of what is in this scene but I have a couple of additional observations. 

 

The opening musical theme from Tiomkin at the very beginning of the scene sounds more like the theme in a romantic movie than in a suspense one. For me, this prefigures the perverse kind of 'bromance' or even romance that will take place between Bruno and Guy. This romance has sadomasochistic elements with Bruno being the dominant and Guy the submissive. Just as in Rope, ​I find more than a hint of a homosexual romance, even if in this case probably only from Bruno's perspective.

 

Several people have mentioned Guy's suit. But in reality he is wearing slacks and a jacket and not a suit. This would be instantly recognized by the 1950s audience as casual attire as contrasting with the pin-stripe suit Bruno wears. People dressed up a lot more in the 1950s and travel on a train required at least the kind of nice casual attire Guy wears. If you get a chance, look at ads for train travel from this period and you will see all portrayed passengers in jacket and tie for men and dresses for women. Even children dressed up then. Jacket and slacks vs. suit is a further way to contrast the two men. Suits would indicate businessmen or bankers or lawyers (though not the two-tone shoes); casual attire would indicate a more average person. Those two-tone shoes really don't go with a pin-stripe suit. The only people who might wear such a combination in the movies are usually gangsters or the like. A further prefiguring of Bruno as a criminal type perhaps?

 

Guy appears to me not merely reserved, as several comments have described him, but outright shy, even extremely so. While he may be a celebrity, he is still shy in one-on-one meetings and is surely put off by Bruno's aggression. Already we see him as someone who can possibly (probably) be dominated by a more powerful personality.

 

Finally, it is mentioned in the lecture notes that many of Hitchcock's movies from this era will deal with guilt. I don't know if further lecture notes and discussion will include this, but it is hard for me to talk about Hitchcock and guilt without understanding something about Hitchcock's Roman Catholic background. Guilt was a significant element in the religious education of Catholics of Hitchcock's era. While Hitchcock only made one overtly Catholic movie (I Confess), there are touches of this background in many of his movies.

 

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1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. Be specific.

The two different sets of shoes walking in opposite directions, as though they will (and they do) meet in the middle.

The crossing train tracks before the train takes the right-hand set of tracks.

Even the simple act of cutting back and forth is criss-crossing the two sets of feet!

Bruno and Guy meet because Bruno has his legs crossed while sitting on the train and the Guy accidently touches him crossing his legs after boarding the train.

 

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

Guy’s shoes are an everyday pair; Bruno’s is a saddle-type with contrasting leather colors, meant to be noticed.

Guy’s name is famous because he is a professional tennis player; Bruno wears a tie clip fashioned out of his name (“My mother gave it to me; so I have to wear it to please her”).

Bruno does all the talking (although he tells Guy that he doesn’t talk much) until the end of the clip, when Guy finally says, “Thanks.”

Bruno is the “active one in the scene: In addition to all the talking, he moves into Guy’s space (into a shot with just the two of them) and shakes Guy’s limp hand. Guy wants to be left alone, and Bruno wants to interact.

 

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 music is different for each “set of shoes,” focusing on different instruments for each of the two characters. Except for the music behind the credits, the music gives no indication of what is to become of this chance meeting on the train.

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1. Criss Coss - There aren't dizzying angles to the criss-cross metaphor. We see rail lines crossing back and forth. Each man sits down and crosses their legs leading to a tap on Bruno's foot by Guy. The come from opposite directions out of the cabs as they approach the train station. Even the tennis racquets are crossed. Lastly, the men sit across from one another.

 

2. Sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno - Hitch pulls all the stops out to contrast these two men. Guys comes off as the all-American boyish athlete. Sensible shoes and clothes - plain but sporty. Bruno clearly goes for flashy styled, two-toned wing-tip shoes and a suit of striped fabric. They walk differently...Guy a bit more confident as if he knows where he is going. Bruno is just gently striding as if he really has nowhere he must be. The suitcases differ in style. Clearly Bruno has money to burn and has more expensive bags. Guy goes for something plain...something that can contain everything he needs. He grabs his racquets which are important for his success. Bruno has the redcap take everything. When they finally meet, Guy sits and pulls out a book. Clearly he is going to quietly keep to himself regardless of his fame and success. Bruno interjects and claims he will let Guy read but that doesn't come off. Quiet and laid back vs. loud and flashy.

 

3. Tiomkin's music matches aspects of each man's persona. The musical phrasing for Guy lets you know he's the athlete - a lighter step with a little boldness, a carefree pace. Bruno is a bit jazzier as if he might be a guy up to no good. There are hints of suspense in the scoring for Bruno's walk and pace. The musical beats seem in time to each man's paces.

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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 duplicity or criss-cross (which is actually a double cross) begins as two cabs from the diamond cab company pull up to the same railroad station, and one after another two people (men) have their luggage unloaded. We see both pairs of shoes in very different styles. The first pair is loud and brash under pin-striped pants, the other pair, more subdued as his slacks as his slacks lead us to believe.

 

We follow the men (or legs of the men) - crossing the station from opposing directions - though they both enter the station from the same doorway - as they enter the same gate. (Here Hitchcock dispels with narrative logic, for his preferred emotional and cinematic visuals. Chandler must have cringed at this point.)

 

The major crisscross of tracks is surrounded by other minor crisscrossed tracks, suggesting there is no escape for the characters. They are to be intertwined.

 

Inside the train, the legs continue to walk, again in the opposite direction until we see them sit across from each other in the smoking car and a subdued shoe taps the sole of the other.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

I mention their choices of wardrobe in my previous answer but their styles of life crisscross also (though their mode of transportation doesn’t). Now beyond their manner of dress, we see their different personalities immediately - one interrupts and recognizes the one who would rather remain anonymous; Bruno is pushy and chatty, Guy, more sedate, soft spoken, prefers reading; the style of their ties are as different as their styles of life and their emotional makeups.

 

Bruno plops himself down, uninhabited and uninvited, next to Guy and continues to talk about the tennis match that Guy wiped his opponent off the court and another where he made it to the semifinals. Bruno remains oblivious to the fact he may be an interruption on solitude. He goes on to explain the “bruno” on his tie to an uncomfortable but polite and trapped traveler.

 

Bruno allows himself to finally step beyond his intrusion when he notices Guy’s book. He tells him to go on reading it because he doesn’t talk too much - an ironic remark because Guy has uttered maybe 10 words. Guy accepts the invitation to continue reading his book as the invasion continues. As the dose closes, out Bruno, unable to contain his nature, leans in to see what Guy is reading.

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Under the opening titles, Tiomkin’s initial score suggests this is a strong and important movie.

His melody in the score is hypnotic and is repeated with different sections of the orchestra. But he never leaves his violins behind for long.

 

The score then fluctuates between apprehension and a joyful, almost clownish melody as the two men exit their taxis.

 

 

He repeats the thematic melody for both men as they walk through the station butt is altered for each,, as though they have their own score.

 

 

The joyful theme, though, is misleading. It suggests comedy and for me, in some subtle way, foreshadow the location of the final scene.

 

But the score is imaginative and unconsciously advances the story. Tiomkin avoids cliché when his score does not emphasize the feeling we are on a moving train as other composers might have done. It catches and holds our attention. It suggests something is going to happen but doesn’t let on what that might be.

 

Hitchcock chooses to stop the music as the story between the two men begins in earnest. He wants no distraction from the opening dialogue.

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A few supplemental production notes.  According to Farley Granger in his “all about me book”, Include Me Out –My Life from Goldwyn to Broadway, “Bob Walker was a consummate professional, always on time and always creatively well prepared”, with the exception of the first days shoot (their feet exiting the taxis) and they wound up trading shooting times, but no problems.  Granger also mentions that Bob Walker confided in him, his despair over losing his wife, Jennifer Jones, to that SOB Selznick, who was twice her age, because he promised to make her a big star, and what a struggle it was to go on without her.  This makes me wonder, since Hitchcock at this point was free of the Selznick contract, maybe hiring Robert Walker was a way to needle his former studio boss. 

 

Where’s the blonde?  Granger goes on to say in his discussions with Hitchcock that the director had wanted to use Grace Kelly as Guy’s love interest but Warners refused.  Seeing how both Farley Granger and Robert Walker were MGM contract stars (and costing a lot to borrow), Warners’ wanted one of their own and so Ruth Roman got the part.  Says Granger, “Hitch did not like his artistic wishes thwarted.  As a result, he was cold and sometimes cruel to Ruth, which was unfair because as a contract player she was just doing what the studio told her to do.  But Hitch was right, she was wrong for the part.”

 

So much going on behind the scenes…..

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In the introductory scene alone, there is a definite theme building as we see the two characters at the train station. They arrive in cabs that seemingly pit them crossing each other, the two men walk in opposite sides of the camera angle, and their feet actually cross as they sit at the table. What is also visible is that as the train moves out of the station, the tracks cross each other over and over again.

 

The contrast is very stark between the two characters, even as we first introduced to just their shoes. Bruno, compared to Guy, is the flashier, more intrusive one; his shoes, his clothes, even his name tie pin make him noticeable. Guy is more subtle and less intrusive. As the two men get acquainted, Guy seems to one to make the introductions and get back to his magazine. Bruno not only wants to introduce himself but make a new friends; he seizes Guy's hand in both his and switches sides of the car to seat himself next to Guy. 

 

The music does a great job in setting the atmosphere because, especially in the opening scene we get a sense of the stark difference between the two characters. Each man has his opening theme music in a way, and even before we see their faces or hear their voices, we know that we are dealing with two very different characters. 

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It's interesting to watch the camera work in this opening sequence: Under the credits, it's about eye level; then, as the first taxi pulls into the station, it lowers way down to lower-than-knee level.

(I noted, when this scene was used in 2015's Film Noir course, how it looks as if the taxi is going to run right into the camera).

The camera stays at that level (except for a tilt that shows the back of one of the men entering the gates), and stays that level on the front of the train (yipes!), until the shoes collide under the table (foreshadowing), and then we see the two men.

 

Slightly off-topic: I was interested by the note made about Hitchcock kind of casting Robert Walker "against type" in this film, and wanted to mention a lovely film from 1945 called "The Clock," with Walker and Judy Garland (directed by Vincente Minnelli).

Walker is indeed the male ingenue in the movie as his enlisted man and Garland's working girl  have a whirlwind romance while he's on furlough in NYC. It's swooningly romantic, and I guarantee you'll fall in love with both stars.

 

But Walker delivers an incredible performance in this film; he's terrifying. It's a shame he died young; it would have been interesting to see if he would have been offered other roles like this.

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1. The criss cross railroad tracks are interwoven with the men who are passengers on the train. The tracks are crossing. Their legs cross and then their feet brush off each other with emphasis on two different shoes. Their stride also was notably different. The murder then takes on a persona. The two intersecting murders criss cross and decisions are made for each man to murder the others chosen victim. One a mans wife the other the hated father. My words simply do no justice to the exquisite way Hitchcock "pulls off" this elegant beginning.

2. The scenes seem obvious. The men are from two different worlds. One man almost a victim of his destiny. The other a calculating evil doer (handsome and deliberate) smoking even with a purpose. They draw us in with their differences. They criss cross.

3. The music is perfect (if that is possible). It is deliberate as Bruno walks. It forces us to respond to the characters and also provides distraction and the facade of happiness. As the characters draw near to their destiny ( either murder., and contemplation of murder and greed )

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First scene we have the criss cross of the diamond shape on the taxicab door. Criss cross diamond shape on the floor, criss cross of the train tracks, people crossing their legs with shots under the table, then the actual bumping into each other of Guy and Bruno.  And a Criss cross pattern on Guy's tie.

 

The score of Dimitri Tomkin sets the mood and tone of the film. It starts out loud and lavish with the arrival of the characters in their respective cars. Here the music quietens up then the trumpets start a bit. The characters come out of the cabs, but all we see for a while are their shoes and baggage. An odd way to begin a film yet memorable.

 

Bruno's style is more tailored looking, he wears more expensive shoes, white with black  whereas Guy has less stylish shoes with a less defined crease in his pants suggesting he pays less attention to the way he looks than Bruno. The pinstripes and stylish tie also make him appear sharper dressed than Guy. Bruno also has a handkerchief in his breast pocket whereas Guy has none and tucks his tie into his vest worn under the jacket. Bruno also has a tie clip with his name and seems more confident and self assured than Guy. 

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Professor Edwards, if you're reading this, these questions are deja vu from the Film Noir class two years ago as this film was also brought up in that class.

 

Anyway, the criss-cross motif is definitely noticeable in the first few minutes with the railroad tracks, the style of dress Guy and Bruno wear, even the blinds on the train behind Guy give a criss cross look.

 

The way the characters walk is noticeable, as if they are preparing for a duel, walking one way in the station, then walking up to the table in the club car and the first move is made when their shoes touch.

Indeed Bruno is loud and flamboyant (closeted homosexual, perhaps???) and Guy is preppy and conservative.

 

The music sounds playful then has a bawdy tone as Bruno exits his cab. It's a little lighter when Guy exits his cab. It gets more and more dramatic, like we are expecting a major confrontation. Will they collide in the station? But the collision is more subtle in the club car when their shoes touch.

 

Oh, and the line "I don't talk much; you go ahead and read." Famous last words spoken on every train and plane.

 

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Pretty much everyone has discussed most of the criss-cross imagery: the shoes of the two men exiting their respective taxis, crossing the train station, & finally almost coming together as they prepare to enter the train;  the maze of train tracks at the station, crossing, separating, re-crossing;  the shoes of the two men again crossing in the train, & eventually accidentally touching, which finally brings them together.  I found Bruno's handshake very interesting, too.  Bruno crosses to Guy, grabs Guy's hand with both of his hands, almost as if pulling him into his web.  Very manipulative move.  Bruno has "moved in" on Guy, & has no intention of leaving him alone.

 

The contrast between the Bruno & Guy is very obvious:  Bruno's shoes are "flashy"; Guy's are conservative/utilitarian.  Bruno talkative.  He wants to strike up a conversation, & seems to have no intention of leaving Guy alone; Guy seems to want to be left alone (just politely responding to Bruno's questions).  

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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.

 

Obviously we get a cross in direction by having each individual walk in opposing directions. We get an overlapping of different soundtracks. The railroad track shows us a crossing pattern.

 

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.

 

I've been a fan of this film for a long time. I've always enjoyed this beginning, and the smoothness of Bruno's gait and slid into his seat while gracefully crossing his legs always jumped out to me - as opposed to Guy's less flashy movements and stumble in bumping Bruno's foot. The show choice also jumps out in the more conspicuous/eye-catching black and white that Bruno wears. Guy has a darker jacket on. Bruno also does nearly all of the talking here, contrasted by Guy's silence.

 

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's a building up on different soundtracks that add to the crisscross, coming together as they meet.

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  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.  Hitch covers the criss cross metaphor in various ways in the opening sequence. The train tracks, the taxis, walking to the train, and the shoes are the main examples I noticed.                                                                                  

     

  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.  In this scene, we already get a taste for the contrast between the two leading characters. Guy is more subtle and shy. He speaks quietly, his shoes are plain, and he intends to read on the train, giving the viewer the idea that he would rather keep to himself. Whereas Bruno is loud and upfront. He speaks with confidence, asserts a conversation with Guy, has bright shoes hinting at his character. In just the opening sequence we are already getting a taste of both characters personalities, and the contrast between the two.                                                                                                                                                                                            

 

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? Tiomkin's score serves as big part of the mood and atmosphere in the opening sequence. The score begins upbeat and light as the opening credits roll in. As the men reach the train station and we see them exit the cars and move to enter the train, the score becomes a bit darker. We are given the hint that something is going to happen on this train! 

 

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The idea of the "criss-cross" came into play right away with the different taxis, the way the gentlemen walked to the train and of course the shoes as they bumped into each other. 

 

Guy and Bruno are shown to have completely different personalities with Guy being much more shy and reserved while being conservatively dressed in a dark suit. Bruno is quite outgoing and chatty, very confident which is shown in his manner of speaking, and he dresses more stylishly as some might say. One man likes to keep to himself while the other would rather be noticed.

 

The score of the picture starts off very light and lively as the credits roll and the picture begins with Guy and Bruno leaving their taxis. As they approach the train however the mood changes and becomes more ominous signaling the changes that are about to come.

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1. Criss Coss - There aren't dizzying angles to the criss-cross metaphor. We see rail lines crossing back and forth. Each man sits down and crosses their legs leading to a tap on Bruno's foot by Guy. The come from opposite directions out of the cabs as they approach the train station. Even the tennis racquets are crossed. Lastly, the men sit across from one another.

2. Sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno - Hitch pulls all the stops out to contrast these two men. Guys comes off as the all-American boyish athlete. Sensible shoes and clothes - plain but sporty. Bruno clearly goes for flashy styled, two-toned wing-tip shoes and a suit of striped fabric. They walk differently...Guy a bit more confident as if he knows where he is going. Bruno is just gently striding as if he really has nowhere he must be. The suitcases differ in style. Clearly Bruno has money to burn and has more expensive bags. Guy goes for something plain...something that can contain everything he needs. He grabs his racquets which are important for his success. Bruno has the redcap take everything. When they finally meet, Guy sits and pulls out a book. Clearly he is going to quietly keep to himself regardless of his fame and success. Bruno interjects and claims he will let Guy read but that doesn't come off. Quiet and laid back vs. loud and flashy.

3. Tiomkin's music matches aspects of each man's persona. The musical phrasing for Guy lets you know he's the athlete - a lighter step with a little boldness, a carefree pace. Bruno is a bit jazzier as if he might be a guy up to no good. There are hints of suspense in the scoring for Bruno's walk and pace. The musical beats seem in time to each man's paces.

I love that you mentioned them crossing their legs

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Hitchcock masters the repetition of the criss cross motif throughout this opening scene. It is evident in the train tracks, crossed legs, crossed fingers and hands. It even shows up in Guy's tie.

There is contrast of wealth and average in the fashion, flashy and mundane. The personalities are contrasted as well. Bruno is an extrovert and Guy is reserved and shy. The music is dramatic in the opening credits and playfully changes tempo when the characters are introduced. There is jazzy mood,then it slows with the rhythm of the traveling train. Music is going to be vital in this movie.

I can't wait to see again with educated eyes. Thanks professor Edwards and your team, this is so much fun.

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1.  The criss crossing theme is represented visually when we are introduced to the two main characters by the cameras focus on there shoes as they exit their respective taxis, crossing the street/curb as they approach the train station, we assume these gentlemen will soon cross paths, they cross the pedway towards the train, we see wide angle shot of the train tracks as they cross as the camera creates the constant forward movement. When the men enter the train and are seated, one of the men crosses his legs and then the other.  This crossing motion results in their shoes making contact.  One man sitting across from the other crosses over from one side of the table as he introduces himself to the other. At this time we meet Bruno Antony and Guy Haines.

 

2.  From the moment we see the conrast in the men's shoes it is evident that these men are very different.  Both wearing Oxford style shoes, but one man wearing the more "flashy" wing tip oxfords.  There is a subtle difference in the pace of their steps, one man more deliberate another a bit lighter on his feet.  When we are finally introduced to the men on the train it is the man with the less conservtive suit and shoes that introduces himself to the other man.  He appears more extroverted, wearing an unconventional tie, providing some personal information i.e the tie is a gift from his mother.  The other man is polite and much more reserved in his interactions.

 

3.  Dimitri Tiomkins music when the credits are rolling is very dramatic and intense underlying the likelyhood of some thrills and suspence provided by the creators of the film.  AS soon as the camera  closes in on those Oxford wingtips the music becomes much lighter, the mood changes.   We are soon introduced to Bruno Antony and the music becomes a reflection of the man's attitude that at this time is in contrast to what we will learn is his actual nefarious plan.

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Stranger on a train is one of the masterpieces of Hitchcock. Here are those which in terms of the plot, the suspense, (a game of tennis was never as important as dramatic element), the false guilty, the personality of the characters, (Robert Walker charisma is unrivaled. This was the only film that I saw starring him. Too bad he died so young!) psychological issues such as the issue of the guilt, the relationship mother - child, etc


With respect to the initial fragment, the criss cross manifests itself through the steps of the protagonists from the cab and at the station. Here, both go to a same destination, each by his side. The camera showing the pathways that intersect steeply may refer to the destinies cross unpredictably, and finally, the final encounter of the two destinations in a casual clash of feet.  All this accompanied by excellent Tiomkin music, cheerful and calm at the station more frantic in the scene of the tract. As one more element to accompany the plot.


The two characters contrast from the beginning by his clothes, elegant, fine and face of Bruno, with the lock tie that identifies it. Here we see already, his personality. Guy wears simple clothes, like any other, despite being a famous tennis player, is unnoticed and seems embarrassed by the strong personality of Bruno.

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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 criss-cross introduction sets the action into motion, allowing us to become aware of a continuing pattern which we will see throughout the movie.  We see two taxis entering from different directions.  We see the foot steps of two characters.  We see the tracks leaving the station as they meander, weave, and cross each other.  And we see the two sets of feet as one finally inadvertently bumps into the other. Like the tracks from a train station that can lead one many different directions on life's journey.  An "accidental" meeting on that path can intertwine two peoples lives forever, both physically and psychologically.

 

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.

Two different types of shoes starts the contrast out.  We have a flashier pair of shoes that belong to the flashier, flamboyant Brno.  The more reserved, formal shoes belong to Guy, a more quiet, reserved kind of man.  Bruno is more talkative, impressed with Guy's celebrity as a tennis pro, and wants to engage Guy in a conversation.  Guy would prefer to sit quietly and read, and not interact too much.  As their lives begin to intersect and criss-cross, it becomes clear that this chance meeting may go somewhere unforeseen.  

 

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?

 I also thought that the music played as we watched the characters feet accentuated differences between the two characters.  Guys music is more stern, halting in manner, while Bruno's seems a bit more whimsical or light in nature.  Guy is more inwardly focused, and his music mirrors this tendency.  Bruno is more bravado, and his music seems to echo his bravado.  

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