Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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Criss-cross - love this film!  (how many times have I said that in the past three weeks?)

1. In this opening, Hitchcock uses many visuals to imply convergence of separate paths - not just in direction.

It starts with the two separate cabs, shot at opposite angles, as a character emerges from each.  We have Bruno going from right to left as he goes through the station, and Guy going from right to left - they are on a collision course from the vert first.  Also noticeable is an 'opposition' of styles, as Bruno is shown in flashy two-toned wingtips and pinstriped pants, whereas Guy in modest attire.

This transitions to a train-point-of-view shot angled down at the rails guiding its path (destiny?), while also intersecting, briefly sharing, then diverting from other tracks, just as our principal characters' coming from different paths, suggesting they will briefly intersect.   Also note the shadow of the train cast over the coming rails, a bit ominous sight of darkness ahead.  This cuts back to our characters, again, only seeing their legs and feet - strangers to us and to each other.  Bruno still moving right to left, but now through the train car; Guy again left to right.  Bruno sits, then Guys sits, his swing foot taps Bruno's.  They see each others' face for the first time (as does the audience) acknowledging each other.  Bruno recognizes Guy as a famous tennis player then (criss)-crosses over to sit next to him, introducing himself.  He then tells Guy that he won't disturb him (false) and he doesn't talk much (false) - in this way bring is already deceiving (or criss-crossing?) Guy.

2.  As stated in #1, Hitchcock is contrasting Bruno and Guy by shooting their motion in opposite directions, as well as displaying a difference in attire style, from flamboyant Bruno (two-tone shoes and pinstripe suit), to conservative Guy's basic dress.  To add to Bruno's style, there is his tie clasp with his name on it, and the bizarre tie with lobsters on it!

Bruno 'aggressively' pursues Guy, introducing himself, moving over to sit next to him, grabbing his hand to shake, and dominating the conversation.  Much more outgoing than Guy, who is friendly yet reserved.  Ying and yang.

3. Tiomkin's music in this clip gives a slight musical cue to each characters' introduction, where Bruno's in simple violins, whereas Guy's sounds like a brief harp interlude - suggesting Guy as angelic or the innocent, whereas Bruno is commonplace.  The reset of the music as we follow them is similar. As the scene progresses, the music has a movement, in a stepwise fashion of strings, mirroring the strides through the station of the principals.  The shot of the train moving over the rails is more dramatic suggesting approaching conflict.  The train interior shots, as the guy separately move through the cabin, are quieter, as indoors typically are, with Bruno's shot covered with small, high (flute?) notes, typically conveying mystery, which is absent from the shot of Guy.

 

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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 train tracks, which are two parallel figures coming together
  • The emphasis on the shoes, where one pair differs from the other
  • The taxis
  • The walks on the train

 

The idea of "criss cross" is used to express the fact that these two men will have a very fateful train ride.

 

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.

 

There is the obvious mention of the shows, in which Guy wears casual shoes. This suggests that he is more masculine and subdued. The shoes on Bruno are more flamboyant and a little overstated. He is more outgoing, erratic, and outspoken. When it comes the dialogue and speech, it seems that Guy doesn't like to talk much, and Bruno is more conversational. You can see that Guy is a little uncomfortable in the scene, and Bruno is invading his territory. Their personality is obviously different; Guy's is subtle and a little uptight, and Bruno's is more enthusiastic and over-zealous. This is a great dynamic that Hitchcock presents to the audience because everyone is able to relate to both of them.

 

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 score is amazing because there are two different tones to it. When notice Guy's shoes, the score is upbeat and lively. This is because Guy is an athlete. However, for when you notice Bruno's, the score shifts to something a little more sinister and and deep. Seeing the film now, multiple times, you already know that something's quite off about him. Music is one important aspect of a Hitchcock film, and it definitely works in 'Strangers'; Tiomkin's score is there when it needs to be and it fits perfectly into both Guy's and Bruno's different lives.

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The crisscrossing of train tracks seems to be a parallel to life, where we find ourselves making split decisions on which paths to follow.  The tracks in the shot are all connected, but we know each twist and turn leads to a different destination.  The legs crossing and shoes touching seem random and typical on a train, but the viewer senses something more significant about this encounter. 

 

Bruno and Guy give off completely different vibes when compared to one another, just from their attire.  Bruno presents a flamboyant air about him, with his fancy shoes and flashy suit, while Guy is just the opposite.  Guy clearly wants to keep to himself, as Bruno keeps pushing with conversation.  The viewer gets a clear sense that Bruno is up to something, and Guy is about to find out what it is.      

 

The music does a great job in bringing the viewer into the mood of each character.  The musical track stops playing as the two men begin to interact, leaving the viewer totally focused on the verbal exchange.    

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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.

 

As many as he can fit in:  the taxis pull in and turn and stop; one taxi door opens to the left and one to the right; the porter's remove the belongings to the left and right; the train track (love this is a large city as the same in Paris at Gare du Nord) crosses each other; the men walk into the ticket area, one coming from the right and one coming from the left; they enter that particular train car, one coming in from one end (Walker), and the other coming in from the opposite end (Granger); one crosses his legs right-to-left and the other opposite him crosses his legs, but our visual field sees it as opposite, etc.  

 

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.

 

Their clothes is a big difference in style, taste and boldness:  the shoes DO tell of the men in many ways with Walker's jazzy black and white and Granger's plain dark brown/black; especially the ties with a name "Bruno" clip and lobsters vs. a houndstooth style, and pin stripped suit on Walker and plain colored on Granger.  Funny, Walker was 6'0" and have heels on his shoes and Granger looks to be 6'2" or more and also has heels on his shoes vs. the flat we usually see on less fancy men of the time.  Guy is quiet and minding his own business with a magazine and Bruno has nothing to do, but talk and talk.  He evens saids he isn't a talker, yet continues on and break Guy's personal space by getting up and coming to his side without even asking him if that is okay.  Guy is too polite and many people if they need to mediate, read or be a peace would move eventually and make their excuses.  This establishes one man appears to be stronger, bolder and more assertive/aggressive and other is polite, quiet and more a follower.  Interesting as Guy is an athlete and they usually need to have an aggressive side to be a winner and he was a successful tennis star not just based on his looks.

 

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?

 

Mr. Tiomkin has a brillance for fitting the music exactly to the scene.  We see the opening credits in the arch of the train station entrance, the second the words end, we see the taxi coming under the archway.  At the same time the music changes during the opening credits to a different rhythm and tempo to show us now ...the film begins.  It actually appears light and exciting like we are going on a trip and this is going to be fun.  Music had changed so much from the monotone-like music in the Silent Film era.  But light, happy, upbeat music can trick us into thinking the film isn't going to have heavy aspects.  Like the Griswald family trip in the film, 'Vacation" ...that was comedy, but it wasn't all fun with; a death, alleged incest, animal abuse, elderly abuse, breaking and entering, infidelity, etc.  The music in that film also had an impact on setting the mood if we weren't getting the dialogue and actions on film. 

 

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There is much to see in this multilayered opening to "Strangers on a Train." Hitchcock uses the "criss cross" metaphor both visually and through the music.

 

As the two men walk toward each other, the editing cuts back and forth between them. We see the train tracks cross, then it takes one track as if to signify the men taking a fateful path. On the train, they sit across from each other then each crosses his legs until they touch which sets up their fateful meeting.

 

Even the music has a criss-crossing sound as it echoes a motif between the two men.

 

Hitchcock sets up the contrasting personalities of the men just by showing their shoes. Bruno's flashy wing-tipped shoes contrast dramatically with Guy's plain, dark ones. It continues with their suits in the same manner. Flashy pin stripes, tie and tie clip for Bruno; conservative dark sport coat and vest for Guy. Bruno is outgoing; Guy reserved. When Bruno sits next to Guy, shadows cross his face. Again it's a contrast but also signifies something darker about Bruno.

 

It's all fun to watch, although we know it's all going to take a dark turn.

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My personal thought about the opening railroad tracks shot:  While Richard and Wes’ observation about the ‘criss-cross’ totally makes sense, I had another thought before reading the lecture.  I felt like I was strapped to the front of that train, with absolutely no control to stop the train or change its direction at it hit the criss-crossed rails.  It leaves me feeling very anxious and it reminded me of the German Expressionist concept of fatalism we learned early on.  I may be completely off-target here, but that’s feeling I had when I watched the film recently.

Strangers on a Train is a personal favorite of mine.  And now I will look at it in a whole new light!

 

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.

1.       Their cabs and their respective shots enter from different angles.

2.       Obviously, the railroad tracks as mentioned in the lecture video.

3.       Several times, the editing shows them walking in opposite directions, but towards each other, leading us to think these two are on a collision course with each other.

4.       They are sitting on opposite sides of the train car, facing each other, still facing opposite directions until one breaks the ice.

5.       Their shoes/ankles are crossed, until the ‘accidental bump’.  Destiny and fate step in now.

6.       They appear to stop criss-crossing when they both seem to file through some kind of ticket/toll.

 

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.

Apparently ‘shoes make the man’ according to Hitchcock (kidding).  I find this sequence of shots with the shoes fascinating!   It’s even more engaging than the version in the opening of The 39 Steps.   We take a look at their shoes and we immediately start making snap judgements about who these men are by the shoes they’re wearing.  And I think we could argue the as the film moves on, our perception of the characters changes from our initial reaction based on just shoes.

Clothing: 

Bruno: He’s flashier and more formally dressed.  Wears a personalized tie-pin.   The fancy shoes. He wears a hat, adding to the formality of his dress.  He’s dripping with charm and personality like a Cary Grant wannabe – because there’s also a ‘cheapness’ about him.  It seems to me when the cab door opened we really couldn’t see any luggage and he just breezes out of the car onto the sidewalk.

Guy: More casual.  Wears plain oxfords.  Despite wearing a jacket and tie, he’s wearing a sweater vest which lends itself to a more casual look.  He looks like a college-kid.  He doesn’t wear a hat.  When the door opens to his cab we see many bags in the back seat, including a tennis racket, which again leads us to believe he is more casual and sporty.

 

I’m left with the feeling Guy is planning an extended trip and Bruno is taking a day trip.

 

Camera:

I do not really see as much effect with the actual camera work as there is most with the editing choices for the scene.

 

Dialogue:

Guy’s lack of dialogue leads us to believe he is young and inexperienced when it comes to meeting people and making small talk.  You can tell he’s quite uncomfortable when Bruno strikes up a conversation.

Bruno, on the other hand, is trained.  Whether it’s by his rich parents or an upper-class prep school, he’s been taught how to speak, carry conversation, introduce himself.  He is one of those people who has been trained to be so self-assured, they break down other people’s walls without a care.  He’s the one carrying the conversation and notice how he’s the first to leap across the train car and burst into Guy’s personal space.

 

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?

Certainly, correct about the visuals!  I had to watch the clip 3 times before I could focus on the score.

I’m only going to focus my answer on the time after Hitch’s name appears as Director.  The music is light and filled with humor with lots of fun instruments to listen to.   I feel the music here serves to pace the scene.  More importantly thought the composer uses different instruments and melodies to introduce different characters.  Remember!  We’re only seeing their shoes so we may not know who they are.  The pompous sounding horns introduce the drivers and their officious role of baggage handler.   Then the light, ‘plinkety’ sounds of strings and woodwinds to introduce our travelers, exiting their cabs. The pace quickens as their paths are about to collide.

The volume and tempo shifts again as we’re pushed by the train along the tracks to our destiny.

Once we’re back on the train, we go back to our light ‘traveler’ music.  Then, as soon as we see their faces – the music stops.   We no longer need the music to provide the information and cues – we have the actors faces and their words.

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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.

 

1. The criss-cross of the train tracks (to determine which direction the train will go in)--there are several diverging and converging sets of tracks

2. (Obviously) The accidental touch of Bruno and Guy's feet

3. The criss-cross of Bruno from one side of the train car to the 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.

 

First, I feel like there is a subtle change in the music that accompanies each man's walk to his seat on his train. Bruno sits down to a more sinister rendition of the violin music that was playing as he exited his taxi. Guy, on the other hand, sits down to a tune less ominous.

 

 

From a clothing perspective, one can get an idea of the background of each character. Guy is much more subdued, more in line with a self-made man. Bruno, on the other hand, is wearing spats and what I can only describe as a very fine suit (with a very hideous tie). It is immediately obvious that Bruno comes from money. Another indication is the nonchalance with which Bruno talks about his mother. It seems like only the rich can pool of that kind of dismissal/non-dismissal of their mother's involvement in their lives.

 

Bruno immediately asserts himself as the dominant personality. He engages Guy in conversation (even though he looks like he'd rather be reading his book), and the minute it looks like he's involved in the conversation, Bruno seats himself next to him, even though Guy is a celebrity of some sorts and not know to him.

 

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?

 

From the very beginning of the sequence, there seems to be a sense of conflict brewing, a feeling of some kind of clash, which is driven by the score. With the insistent playing of the strings and the crash of the cymbals, one can almost feel the tension in the air, see two characters fighting one another for dominance. In a way, I feel like it is almost operatic. Then, as the two characters walk towards one another, there is the same insistent playing that ramps up the desire to see what will happen when these two characters meet.

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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.

Two men whose lives intersect...arriving from different back,grounds...visually shown as the cabs pull up from different directions, he men walk to the gate coming from different directions....walking to the train car..from different directions...facing different directions causing the feet to collide as the legs are criss crossed. .and their lives quickly become intertwined..shown by Bruno moving to same side and sitting next to Guy. And of course, the criss crossing of the train tracks.

 

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..obviously the more well to do..more sophisticated..from dress and speech and demeanor. Guy

, the athlete, successful, but still common roots. A sense of old money vs. nouveau riche.

 

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?

Creates an early sense of urgency....and tension which is felt throughout the film.

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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.

 

Criss crossing has an metaphor of how lives can be crossed. The criss cross of the train tracks is the most obvious. As well as the entrance of the two characters as they criss-crossed each other in the arrival of the taxis. The train track is more visual as it heads to become a single track; it gives a sense the eventual of being one single path.

 

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.

 

Men Fashion: Let's not kid ourselves, clothes does make the man as in this case the shoes have it all. We see two pairs of distinct shoe styles. One is a pair of wingtip spat which one can say the man who wears this is one of daring and flashy and yes, flamboyant. The other is a pair of discreet and possibly dark-tan wingtip laced up oxfords. It tells of a man who is of elegance, classic and not-a-risk taker of any kind. As we see the body shot, we see the classic dark-tan shoes are wearing a possibly dark navy blazer with charcoal grey trouser. The spats boy is wearing a light gray or in color suit which gives a tale of cockiness and confidence. Bruno's is definitely flamboyant in his choice tie and very bold tie-clip bears his name! Notice how the trousers' length are just above the shoes. Hitch wanted the shoes to be seen as a character. 

 

Camera: The shots are most in angles. Hitch hints of oddity to the characters.

 

Dialogue: Guy's almost lack of conversation as oppose to Bruno's confidence  and sureness in his opening introduction. Bruno's speech is bold and assertive as Guy's passive in silence and in its short sentences. It is Bruno who takes control of the conversation and even getting up to sit next to Guy. Guy is almost darkness and seems to be backing away. But Guy is too fascinated by Bruno's nonchalant bravadas to even care.

 

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 score is like another part of the character as we see in the opening scene at the train station. For Guy, we get a sense of classic, softer notes than Bruno's loud almost in-your-face jazz. The music sets mood of the characters as well as setting up the story as it rolls out before our eyes.

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1) We first see the men going across the train station, walking from opposite directions. The train crosses two sets of tracks before it gets to the set it wanted. When Bruno sits he crosses his legs. Guy sits across from Bruno and when he crosses his legs his foot taps Bruno's foot where they cross paths. Finally, Bruno crosses over to Guy's side of the table.

2) As I said previously, both are approaching the train from opposite sides of the station. Bruno is dressed more stylishly and looks to have money; Guy's clothes are nice but dark with nothing flashy or ostentatious (see: Bruno's tie tack). As in conversation, the in-the-background Guy barely says a word whereas the flashier Bruno (Bruno? Really?) dominates.

Bruno takes the lead in conversation and I wonder if it was meant as a comic line when the man who has been doing all of the talking says, "I don't talk much".

3) The music is almost fit for a Warner Bros. cartoon; stentorian but letting you know that it's not to be taken seriously. For a dramatic film I would not have figured Mr. Hitchcock for having wanted to inject an element of mirth to the proceedings.

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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.

 

I suppose it could be three. First when we see the criss-cross of the railroad tracks, when we see the men making their way across the train from opposite sides to their seats, and then when their feet accidentally bump. 

 

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 appears to be a lot quieter than Bruno. Guy just wants to sit, relax and enjoy his book.. that is until Bruno sits next to him and starts talking nonstop. Bruno appears classier than Guy, from the suit and tie down to the black and white shoes. Guy is dressed a lot more laid back, black shoes and shirt and jacket. 

 

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?

 

Different parts of the score kind of seem to tell a little bit about each character, even though we aren't able to see their faces at first. Sometimes the score at the beginning can set the tone for the whole film. 

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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.

     

    From the beginning we see the "criss cross": the two cabs, the two men/two shoes, the two different directions of their walking into the dining car.  Then further with their "agreement" and how one doesn't want to hold up his end because he becomes frightened by the thought of it.  How then, the criss cross becomes deliberate on the part of Bruno.  It is no longer a coincidence, but a chilling stalking.

     

  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 is flashy, from the two-toned shoes and the tie with his name "from Mother".  He says that he doesn't talk much, but we know that he will.  He is just waiting to strike up a conversation.  He has no paper or book.  

     

  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, again typical Hitchcock, seems almost jovial as if we are embarking on a wonderful journey.  It doesn't belie the dark events that will take place in the movie.

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  1. Hitchcock visually manifests the metaphor of “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence by using a lot of opposing angles. The camera is at opposite angles for the cabs arriving. Then the men walk through the station coming from opposite directions, they approach to the seats from opposite ends of the railway car and end up sitting opposite each other. The railroad ties criss-cross as the train starts out, before it gets on its final track.    

 

A sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker) starts out with the contrast of shoes, light and dark, flashy and plain. The same with the suits of clothing. Bruno is striped and adorned with his 'Bruno' tie clip on that lobster tie, handkerchief and cuff links. Guy is dark and almost plain by comparison. The music for Bruno was more brassy, for Guy it was softer. The same with the characters speech, Bruno is quite a talker, while Guy appears quieter, speaks softly and just wants to read his book.

 

Dimitri Tiomkin's score really sets a tone for an upbeat, jazzy beginning. The musical instruments are a bit different when each man gets out of their cab, giving them a different tonal motif.

 

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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.

 

Quite a few, actually. As far as the ones I noticed, there's the train tracks as touched on in today's lecture, as well as the way the camera is focused on a juncture in the tracks. You can see the train is headed for that juncture, but as a viewer, you are unsure of which direction it will choose at first. Then suddenly the train chooses to go right instead of left -- definitely feels like foreshadowing of other decisions that will probably be made throughout the film.

 

Also, Bruno and Guy appear to be walking from opposite directions to get to the train. Bruno sits across from Guy and crosses his legs as he sits. It's only when Guy crosses his legs as well that the feet touch. Bruno is wearing a striped suit that reminds me of the train tracks. The stripes on Bruno's suit are vertical and contrast with the parallel lines created by the horizontal blinds behind him. There might be more (and probably is).

 

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.

 

Well, their personal styles couldn't possibly be more different. Bruno is flashy. I'd call him well-dressed and leave it at that, but he almost borders on tacky. The suit and shoes have flare, but are just a little bit too much with the lobster tie and the "Bruno" tie clip. Guy is also pretty well-dressed, but in a much preppier sort of way.

 

Both men are polite and personable, but Guy is quieter. Bruno is extroverted to the point of having a personal space problem. If I were Guy, I'd have wanted to shove him away from me when he just got up, sat next to me without being invited, and started reading over my shoulder. I practically get the feeling he wants to sell poor Guy insurance or something. No one is that "outgoing" without wanting something from the other person. The way he looks at Guy when he first notices him after the foot bump makes me feel like he just zeroed in on a mark.

 

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 score in the beginning strikes me as lighthearted and upbeat. Especially as the train picks up speed and chooses a direction. I feel like I'm going on a journey I'm excited about. Honestly, it reminds me of the score Tiomkin did for the beginning of Shadow of a Doubt. Something about it makes me feel like I'm in a very normal setting feeling normal things -- like nothing bad in the world could happen.

 

Later on, as Bruno and Guy are about to meet and touch feet though, the score becomes a bit more menacing and apprehensive. When the feet actually touch, the score lets you know something monumental and potentially upsetting just happened -- something that will change the direction of this journey for these two men, reminiscent of the way the train went one direction and not the other in the very beginning. Everything was fine and normal before. Now it's not and the score is what makes you sure of that.

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1In 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 camera angles when the cabs arrive they both coming from different directions. Both Guy and Bruno sit across from each other and the train track over lap each 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.
Look at the shoes One is dress to impress, he has money lots of it. The second gentlemen is more modest down to earth.
 
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? 
Tiomkin Set the music differently for both Guy and Bruno as they step off the cab and go toward the train.
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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.

 

Guy and Bruno are filmed at feet level entering the train station as though coming from two different directions. They nearly cross paths at the gate, but remain unaware of one another. The train is then filmed POV from track level traveling through a switchyard where tracks criss-cross and we can't anticipate which ones it'll take. Hitch shows Guy and Bruno taking their seats. One man, then the other, crosses his legs. Oops, contact is made, foot first 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 is a flashy dresser with eye-popping two-tone shoes. He's slick, quick, and when he speaks, he clearly has an agenda. Guy is dressed comfortably and carries a pair of tennis rackets in presses which indicates he's more than a casual player. He seems preoccupied but is polite when Bruno comes on to him as an exuberant tennis fan.

 

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? 

 

After the initial fanfare and the introduction of a theme over the opening credits, the score serves to propel the walking sequences and the switchyard scene in near march cadence. Bruno, or more precisely, Bruno's shoes are given a jauntier melodic treatment than Guy's sensible brogues. The music recedes as as the men sit and the dialogue begins.

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This Hitchcock film starts with these two strangers exiting their individual taxis. They are strangers to each other and they are strangers to us. We do not see their face but there are shoes express their characters. One with the fancy show off shoes and the other is more sporty. As we see the train tracks. There are so many tracks crisscrossing each other we are not sure where this journey will take us. And then we cut to these men their shoes and the crossing of the legs and the bumping into each other physically.

The score beautifully takes us on the introduction of these characters. As we see the fancy shoes exit 1 taxi the music is a little more,well...fancy. Although the score continues any sort of jaunty creation of this journey of two people meeting, it changes as we see the next pair of shoes come out any more sporty style of music. We are in for a ride. And so are our strangers.

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​1. The criss cross metaphor is used in several different ways in the opening scene, starting with both men getting out of their cabs. They arrive at the train station from different places, and the criss cross begins when white shoes (Bruno) walks left to the train station entrance while black shoes (Guy) walks right. The eventually end up going the same way, which is where they 'meet' before actually meeting. Then comes the train tracks, as mentioned in the lecture video. After that, they walk to their seats still from different directions, Bruno going left again, Guy going right again. Finally, not that this might have any symbolic importance, but it is interesting nonetheless, they both CROSS their legs, and that is how they bump into each other and meet.

 

​2. Some contrasts between Guy and Bruno - Guy is dressed formally, tie tucked into his jacket, and even walks straight and tall. He is not very social or conversational, and says only the bare minimum to Bruno. Bruno, however, is far more casual and laid back. His tie is out, with his 'corny' name pin on, his clothes are more loud, and even his walk and stance getting out of the cab is relaxed and easy. He is also very social and not only initiates the conversation with Guy, but shifts to his side of the train and sits next to him. There is also the back/white shoes contrast at the very beginning, of course.

 

​3. The theme that is repeated throughout the scene gives it a fun, interesting feel, but when both men are walking to the station, the music takes the pace of the footsteps. It is not quite marching, but it is enough to give the audience the feeling that something big is going to happen, and the music is 'leading' you somewhere just as the people on the screen lead the camera behind them. Both men get a jazzy intro when they step out of the cab, but they are not different in any way, so I'm not sure if that is supposed to mean something.

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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.

     

    From the first exits out of the cabs. One from one direction the other from another direction. One wearing white top shoes and a lighter suit and another wearing dark shoes and dark suit. Train tracks criss crossing, converging. 2 people entering the train seats on different sides finally converging. 

     

  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.

     

    Same points as in the previous point but I'll also add that Guy was rather introverted and Bruno was a talkative extrovert. 

     

  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 score opens with some almost fun movements, even playful. It takes us straight into the meeting of the two men and the criss cross. 

     

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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.I think Hitchcock was onto something with the remark about studying it forever. I got dizzy looking over the details. This is just a skim:

For instance, just before the main characters meet one walks past an woman who crosses her legs, then he sits and crosses his immediately. The other character also walks past a woman seated with knees together, not crossed, then that main character sits, legs not crossed, then crosses them and taps Bruno's foot in the process. The possibilities: hesitation, double-cross, etc. are almost endless.

 

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.

Striped lighter suit and garish ties vs dark solid suit and checkered tie. Beyond the obvious (conservative vs loud), does this mean check, as in "checkmate"? Stripes, as in bars, say, prison bars?

Quiet somewhat halting or guarded speech vs assumed confidences.

The camera work (and editing) are fast, with a lot of edits for that time period.

Somebody had a lot of fun with this. Probably several people were involved because of the range and depth.
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? 
 

It moves along with it sometimes, propels it sometimes--another criss-cross. Mostly it is FELT rather than heard, another accomplishment. It tells us we are headed somewhere, that we viewers are taking a voyage--another doubling, an intersection, a cross.

 

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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 shot of the train traveling over criss-crossing tracks

The camera switching between an image of Bruno, and then an image of Guy as they are getting out of a cab, walking through the station, walking through train.

 

Guy’s and Bruno’s crossed legs under the table

 

The men are sitting across from one another, and then Bruno crosses over to Guy’s side of the train and sits beside him.

 

Bruno crosses his hands/fingers when saying to Guy, “I certainly admire people who do things.”

 

Bruno shakes one of Guy’s hand using both of his hands, and Bruno’s hands almost look crossed at this moment.  Could the double hand shake mean Bruno wants to express extra friendliness towards Guy, or perhaps more control over 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.

 

 

The camera initially shows only  the legs and feet of Bruno and Guy.  Both men arrive in a similar cab and have a porter helping them carry their luggage.

 

Bruno’s suitcase is worn while his clothing is flashy - pinstripe suit, black and white buster brown shoes, printed floral tie, tie clip of his name.  His look is reminiscent of characters in Guys and Dolls.  He saunters quickly with one hand in his pants pocket.   Bruno gives the air of being suave, relaxed, and carefree.

 

Guy has a nice, sturdy, leather bag.  His clothing is traditional - dark sport coat, gray cuffed slacks, vest, checkered tie, plain, sensible shoes.  He has two tennis rackets so he is serious about playing. His stride is simply to get from point a to b efficiently, and walking with both hands down by his side.

 

Guy accidentally bumps Bruno’s foot and he excuses himself before going back to his book.  Bruno recognizes Guy as a tennis star and immediately initiates a conversation and starts flattering Guy.  Bruno’s dialog is quick, fluid - almost rehearsed - and he exudes charm.  Guy is polite while trying to keep to himself.  Bruno moves from sitting across from Guy to sidling up right next to Guy.  Bruno continues talking, even going to the extent of explaining to Guy the back story on his "Bruno" tie clip.  He then tells Guy he doesn’t talk much and for Guy to go ahead and read.  Bruno then takes this opportunity to glance at 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?

Opening for the movie is a big orchestra playing with some isolated strings adding a bit of melancholy.  As both men arrive at the train station, there's a quick paced, brassy tune that accompanies each of them as they make their way to the train.  As the train pulls away from the station navigating it's way through the maze of criss-crossing tracks, the big orchestra sound repeats and includes an underlying anxious melody (dundundun!) as if something bad is about to happen.  When Bruno walks through the train, there is an eerie tune that plays which implies there's mystery about this man. When Guy approaches, the tune changes to a slightly homespun melody, and then culminates when Guy kicks Bruno's foot.  

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The opening scene to Strangers on a Train is ripe with criss-cross imagery, some obvious, others not so much, but they are definitely there. The crossing of the train tracks, then splitting, and crossing again - which in and of itself is riveting - draws the filmgoer into the action, which mounts with the shifting/crossing of the scenes of the two men exiting their taxis. As one walks into the station to his seat, you also see a man and a woman with their legs crossed; in opposition, you see another pair of passengers seated with their knees together. Both men sit down and cross their legs, with the subsequent bumping of their toes igniting a conversation. Beautifully done.

 

This also marks the beginning of the what we will learn is a stark contrast between the two men: Bruno is a flashy dresser with an outgoing personality (and those black and white shoes!), while Guy's style is classic, tailored, and he's more reserved in his demeanor. Bruno's behavior is casual, and a bit overly familiar as he "crosses over" to Guy's side of the car upon introducing himself and speaks about wearing a tie clip bearing his name to "please his mother."  At this point, his tone sounds a bit condescending, which to me, suggests a negative attitude towards his mother. Guy is polite, but as stated previously, reserved and modest. 

 

The differences are further punctuated by the music during the scenes where the two men emerge from their taxis. The piece of music begins the same, but the mood shifts once we see each pair of feet/shoes - to an almost lighthearted passage when you see Bruno's black and whites and pin striped pants; versus the traditional "city-scene"-style piece we hear when we see Guy's classic leather oxfords and cuffed slacks. In all, the tone has been set for the deliciously suspenseful events that are about to unfold - all of which will empahsize how different these two men are right to the very end!

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I'd like to go even more basic than the criss crossing of paths and look at the basic theme of motion in this film. We start with both men's shoes walking, eventually crossing paths on the train. The train itself is on fixed paths throughout the film. It drives from Metcalf, to Arlington, to Washington. A direct line of destination becomes the back and forth of the tennis matches, with the audience's heads emphasizing the motion. And then finally to the spinning carousel at the climax of the film. The fate of Guy and Bruno has gone from crossing paths on a one way train, to a back and forth throughout the film as Bruno attempts to manipulate and cause trouble for Guy, then they meet for the last time on a carousel that spins around, with no destination but to pass by its starting point again. With what Guy and Bruno have on each other, they are caught in a cycle too. There's no happy end at which they can meet. The whole cycle has to break down, as the carousel does, for there to be resolution.

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1. In “Strangers on a Train” (1951), Alfred Hitchcock utilized the “criss-cross”/”criss-crossing” method in multiple forms.    We get individual low-angle shots of the two train passengers (from opposite angles) stepping out of their taxi cabs, as the train attendants pick up the luggage for the two characters.  Then, we get additional individual (opposite) medium shots of the two passengers (one with saddle shoes, another with regular loafers) walking with the train attendants carrying luggage throughout the station.   After that, we get a medium shot of the two passengers walking to the ticket counter (with their luggage attendants), following Then, we get a “point-of-view” shot from the departing train, as the vehicle moving on the “criss-cross” railroad tracks from the station.  Then, we get two opposite individual (medium) shots (in the railroad car) of both passengers’ feet walking (tracking) to their seat(s).  From opposite ends (as they are sitting), they cross their legs until the character with loafers bumps his feet into the other character with saddle shoes.  After that, we are introduced to Farley Granger and Robert Walker’s characters.  My guess is that Hitchcock used a mix of different shot angles and “cut-on-scene-style” sequences to build up the suspense in the opening of “Strangers on a Train.”

 

2. By taking another look at the interior passenger train  scene from the beginning of “Strangers on a Train,” it seems like there are medium “point-of-view” shots from the viewpoints of Guy Haines (Farley Granger) and Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker), after the wide shot of Guy and Bruno sitting at opposite ends from each other.  Then, Bruno sits with Guy (after introducing himself to Guy in the medium shot, there is a close-up of his stylized script “Bruno” metal tie clip).  Bruno’s tie has lobsters on it (he is dressed in a striped suit), while Guy’s tie is checkered (he is dressed in a solid suit).  Bruno is wearing saddle shoes, while Guy is wearing loafers.  By looking at the lobsters on Bruno’s tie, it might give us an early impression about how he is the evil character in the film, along with his semi-menacing line to Guy after mentioning the tennis tournament (“I certainly admire people who do things”).  It also seems like Bruno likes to talk a lot, while Guy barely wants to talk to him.  The contrast between the two is like night and day, Bruno’s mischievous (and menacing) attitude and Guy is showing some signs of being worried (due to Bruno possibly not giving him enough personal space).

 

3. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score fits in well with the visual sequences of Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train.”  Apart from the booming fanfare (during the Warner Bros. “shield” opening  and credits), it seems like Tiomkin’s score (in the beginning where the two passengers are walking from their taxi cabs to the train station) seems jovial and light, as if we’re expecting a comedy instead of a suspense film.  The music also builds during the “POV” shot when the train is departing, sensing that danger could happen at any moment.  Then, Tiomkin’s score is back to the regular “jovial” mood for the low-angle (opposite) shots of the two train passengers, until Guy bumps Bruno’s foot (almost with a “danger” moment for the source music orchestration score). 

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One thing I'd like to add to the matter: I am a GREAT fan of film noir, and of course I love Strangers on a Train, I think it's one of the most notable films noir and one of the things I am really interested in this movie is the homosexual plot we can spot in the story, and how Bruno can be easily viewed as a kind of "femme fatale" (homme fatale, I guess, in this case), I think it's clear that Hitchcock is dealing with this suject here (and in Rope, more evidently), and this is a great example to show us how Hitchcock was a director way ahead of his time in various aspects. Here's a great link about the subject: http://www.derekdubois.net/2011/03/fatal-femme-bruno-antony-as-hitchcocks.html

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