Dr. Rich Edwards

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

203 posts in this topic

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.
 

RIGHT OFF THE BAT during opening credits, Hitchcock gets right to the idea, the motif, of "criss-cross." In alternating ground-level shots, we see two taxis arriving at a metropolitan train station. The side doors of both taxis fill the frame as the taxis arrive from opposing directions. They don't cross paths, but if they continued, it appears that they would. The significance of the taxis is that they are bringing two passengers who will converge--and cross each other--in what will ultimately be a fight to the finish.

 

One pair of snappy, white dress shoes with black-capped toe and heel, emerges from the first taxi. Then, a pair of black-shod feet emerge from the second taxi. The black and white shoes walk from right- to left-screen. The second pair of feet walk from left to right. They haven't yet crossed, but they seem to be walking to some midpoint where they will.

 

After the back and forth of these arrival shots, the screen dissolves to a low-angle traveling shot down the tracks from the point of view of the train. This shot continues the motif of parallel lines that never meet, but that can, and do, cross other parallel lines; of separate LIVES that can and do cross each other's path and, if only for a moment, meet. This entire sequence is a literally moving metaphor for--and a meditation on--the randomness, the sheer happenstance, of Life.

 

From this near mesmerizing shot of the tracks criss-crossing each other, the screen dissolves to the interior of a train's club car. Again, the separate pairs of feet are still moving in their already established directions--that is, toward each other. And, finally, when the owners of these feet take their seats, the owners cross their legs. In doing so, the tip of one of the solid black shoes taps--and crosses--one of the black-and-white shoes. As if to punctuate this chance meeting, the music score features a slightly sinister bass clef glissando.

 

With that, we see the owners of these feet for the first time--in a two-shot--Guy left-screen, Bruno right-screen.
Only now do we get the first line of dialog: Bruno's "Excuse me!"
After recognizing Guy as a well-known tennis player, Bruno wastes no time. ("I beg your pardon. Aren't you Guy Haines?"). Instead of staying put, Bruno crosses the narrow width of the club car and, invading Guy's space, seats himself next to Guy at the tiny round top table. Further pushing himself at Guy, Bruno forces a handshake, which, palms facing each other, is the criss-crossing of hands. We briefly see shadows from the club car's horizontal window blinds crossing the chalk stripes of Bruno's suit jacket.

 

In the now-tighter two-shot, we see Guy is wearing a tie featuring a conservative tattersall pattern, the repeated criss-crossing of perfectly perpendicular lines. The shadow lines on Bruno's shoulder, however, are canted across the suit stripes--like a distorted, twisted game of tic-tac-toe.

 

The less talkative Guy, who's brought a book with him, would apparently prefer to be left alone. He only smiles and nods "Yes" when asked if he's the famous tennis player. He gives Bruno no reason whatsoever to cross over to his side of the car. So, has Bruno crossed a line?

 

Well, as it will turn out, yes. As the story unfolds, Bruno will cross many more lines. This, for the entirety of the film, right up until the climax, is going to be Guy's cross to bear.

 

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.
 

AS DISCUSSED IN ANSWER #1, the camera shows the taxis arriving from opposite directions. When Guy and Bruno emerge from their respective taxis, they walk in opposing directions.
 

As for their attire, the first contrast is their shoes. Whereas Guy's are sober, dark wingtips, Bruno's are the snappier, more flamboyant black-and-white saddle shoes. Guy's slacks are, again, sober black, while Bruno's suit pants are stylishly chalk-striped with the sheen of perhaps sharkskin. (If it isn't sharkskin, it should have been--the operative word being "shark.")
 

Guy is dressed in conservative dark suit, dark shoes, conservative tie. Bruno, on the other hand, has loud clothes that all but scream for attention. In addition to the black-and-white shoes, he wears a shiny, striped suit. His metallic (silver?) tie clasp is his name--"Bruno"-- in cursive script.
 

Beneath the tie clasp is a strange design that might be...what?...a lobster by Salvador Dali? Whatever it is, it looks like something out of a fantastic nightmare by Hieronymus Bosch. I don't know that it's on screen long enough to register with the audience, but I froze it while taking notes on the sequence. It's either a lobster with pincers that have snapped shut, or two Venus Fly Traps that just snared flies. I'm inclined to think it's the latter, based on Hitchcock's attention to detail and the fact that absolutely nothing in a Hitchcock film winds up on screen by accident--and certainly not something that is shown in extreme close-up. Bruno, of course, would be the voracious plant, Guy the fly. Bruno has yet to "snare" Guy in his psychopathic murder plot, but, in time, he will. Is this weird tie design foreshadowing that eventuality?
 

Upon even closer inspection, I noticed underneath the "fly trap" is what looks distinctly like the symbol for Mars, the Roman god of war--a circle with an arrow at the top pointing northeast. (Is this foreshadowing the future life-and-death struggle between Bruno and Guy?). The symbol for Mars has also come to represent the gender symbol for "Male." Upon still closer inspection, I see that the "arrow" at the top of the orb is on the verge of piercing what looks like an inflated heart. (Does this foreshadow Bruno murdering Guy's wife Miriam, someone Guy may no longer love, but surely once did?)
 

I admit I am laughing while I write this speculation about the bizarre tie design. But, seriously, I do wonder if this wasn't intentional on Hitchcock's part. At the normal speed of the movie, it's really not on the screen long enough for it to clearly register as I've speculated, but it ​is there and practically screams to be noticed. Maybe it was Hitchcock's experiment in subliminal suggestion, to see if the audience would "get it"; or perhaps it was simply a sick in-joke over which Hitchcock and his team had a good laugh. We know from Hitchcock's television program and from many televised interviews that he had a rather impish, perverse sense of humor.

Okay, enough about Bruno's strange tie.
 

When it comes to speech, Bruno is the first to say anything. ("Excuse me!") When he immediately recognizes Guy, Bruno can't help himself. A chatterbox, he strikes up a conversation, running on like a magpie. Guy, meanwhile, doesn't speak, but merely smiles and nods--perhaps out of shyness, perhaps out of being overwhelmed by Bruno's pushiness. Guy's only lines in this entire clip are, finally, "How do you do?"; and, when Bruno ironically says, "I don't talk much. You go ahead and read," Guy, with relief, says, "Thanks!" and goes back to his book, as if this will politely ring down the curtain on Bruno's verbal diarrhea. As the clip ends, Bruno is sneaking a peek at whatever it is 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?
 

OVER THE TITLE and opening credits, Dimitri Tiomkin's score is a full-bodied, dramatic, sweeping Hollywood score true to its era--at least at the very beginning. But as the taxis arrive through the barrel-vaulted arch of Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and the feet get out, the composer first punctuates Bruno's snazzy two-tone shoes with a couple of bars of Gershwinesque, metropolitan jazz. He does the same over Guy's black shoes, but toned down a bit. As the two pairs of feet walk purposefully into the station, Tiomkin punctuates each step with staccato notes, the music and every step of the feet in perfect synchronization, as if our two leads are walking in lockstep. This, of course, is ironic because they never will be.
 

Up until the feet enter the train station, the music is upbeat. However, when we dissolve to the train's POV traveling shot on the tracks, the score becomes fuller, more forte, more "muscular" as if to convey the power of the train and its ability to change lives as it delivers people from one place to another--and, as we shall see, how it throws disparate lives together.
 

But when we dissolve to the black-and-white shoes (Bruno's) slowly walking through the club car, the full orchestration reduces to an eerie strain by far fewer instruments--just as Tiomkin did for SHADOW OF A DOUBT when, in the opening sequence, the street scene dissolves to the dark room with a prone Uncle Charlie in deep thought.
 

The pairs of feet finally reach their respective destinations; the men sit. When legs are crossed and Guy's foot taps--and crosses--one of Bruno's feet, Tiomkin's glissando of bass notes puts a sinister button on it, musically confirming that all the crisscrossing of people in the station, the crossing of train tracks, the crossing of hands, the cross-hatching of shadows over a suit's stripes--all of it--have led to this one chance moment, this random encounter that will set a psychopath's "crisscross" murder plot in motion.

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The opening of Strangers on a Train is hands down one of the absolute greatest introductions a visual storyteller has ever produced. I love, love, love this opening sequence! Hitchcock masterfully connects both Guy and Bruno by directly exhibiting their differences via a ping pong to and from effect. He bounces the characters off of one another, while simultaneously tying them together crafting a sameness with such stark contrasts amongst the two.

 

The intricately interwoven aspects of Guy and Bruno are reflective of a possible divergence in one's own character, as Hitchcock readily displays in highlighting tracks of the train. This is indicative of no path in life being a course of stringency, forks in the road(s) will weave us in directions we could never begin to fathom.

 

An indicator of character is one's choice of clothing. How one dresses is a form of self expression, a way of revealing oneself to the world. Hitchcock's​ main focus is two sets of men’s shoes; a black pair (Guy) and a dual colored pair of black and white (Bruno.) The shoes seem to signify Guy as a straight ​shooter, a kind of person who's walked a straight line his entire life. Bruno, on the other hand, is more of a person to examine, he's to be watched. There is a sense of unease in the duality of how he's presented, as though there is more to him than meets the eye.

 

Bruno's shoes have always piqued my interest due to the blatant contrasts of white and black dressing the same shoe- white/light conveys purity/innocence and black/darkness signifies danger/guilt. This poses numerous questions, the most important one lingering on the mind- will we ever know Bruno to the fullest extent?

 

Tiomkin’s score begins light and airy, reminiscent of a possible comedic narrative. This musical tone remains constant until the frame centers on those two pairs of shoes. Tiomkin then hurries the music’s pace nearing a crescendo as Hitchcock implements his to and from cutting technique. Here, the music seems to take on a darker tone foreshadowing future events binding both Guy and Bruno forever.

 

The opening sequence of Strangers on a Train involves multiple aspects of filmmaking, and all congeal perfectly. Hitchcock finds an unrelenting rhythm as he balances the ever effective similarities of contrasts. He hits a cleverly timed pace with the editing, all the while relying on visuals alone. Moving images with words left unspoken are often times more powerful than any dialogue written for a scene. And with the Master of Suspense at the helm, we know the images produced will be unforgettable in every sense imaginable.

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In this opening sequence from Strangers on a Train, the criss cross train tracks are used as a metaphor for the two men's intersecting lives. Though we know very little about them, the contrast in their walks and shoes suggest ways that they may differ. Bruno's shoes are white and shiny, and his walk is confident and brisk. The music accompanying his walk is also bold and dynamic. Guy's shoes are black and his persona is a little more mysterious, as it is harder to decipher from his walk what kind of character he is. When the two men do meet in the train, Bruno is more forthcoming, while Guy is less eager to talk. I think this is a very effective opening scene.

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1.       “Criss-crossing” is the guiding visual element in the opening of Strangers on a Train (after the opening minute for the titles and a mostly static shot of the station). Most specifically in movement, we have continual crosscutting of Guy’s and Bruno’s feet (we mostly see them from the waist down in this sequence) walking from opposite directions as they walk to the station. We have the POV shot from the engine of the train switching from one track to the other.

2.       We first see Bruno and Guy contrasted through their shoes and pants. Bruno’s ensemble is more flashy – two-toned shoes and striped pants. Guy’s are more subdued – dark shoes and trousers. After Guy accidentally bumps Bruno’s foot with his own, we see their upper bodies, revealing that Bruno’s outfit is more garish, complete with “Bruno” tie clip, than Guy’s. Bruno starts talking to Guy right away about Guy’s tennis playing and we see that Bruno is more extroverted than Guy, who would have happily kept to himself during the commute. In fact, as Bruno introduces himself, he moves over to Guy’s side, sitting right next to him. And when he tells Guy to “go ahead and read,” his eyes immediately scan the newspaper for something to talk to Guy about.

3.       Dimitri Tiomkin’s underscore begins with blaring brass during the Warner Bros. logo, in a style that tells us this will be a thriller. The music calms down with violin leading through the titles. When Bruno’s cab pulls up, tubas lead the music to introduce our first major character. A swirl of violins follow as Bruno steps out. Bruno’s musical theme is repeated when Guy steps out of his cab. Musical themes are repeated as the focus flips back and forth between the feet, sometimes changing instruments when we change men. A grander brass section supports the POV shift to the train itself, preparing to switch tracks. The musical theme calms down as we move to the feet on the train and both men sit down. A bump of strings underscore Guy’s foot hitting Bruno’s. The music momentarily pulls out until Bruno recognizes Guy, which is underscored by a low theme on strings. The music pulls out while the men share their opening dialogue. 

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1) There are several indications of the criss-cross - the train tracks are the obvious examples, but we also see the two gentlemen crossing their legs.

 

2) The contrast is exquisitely shown when the two men initially meet. Guy is reading a book, whereas, Bruno has no book. Bruno is also far more forthright and invasive, shown, when he moves across from his initial seat to sit right beside Guy. The beginning also shows the remarkable contrast in the clothes that the pair wear, especially the shoes - Bruno wears a flashy pair, whereas Guy is more laid back with ta standard pair of brown (I think) shoes. Guy is a far more grounded person whereas Bruno is a little more out there in personality - the aggressor so to speak.

 

3) Tiomkin's score builds a sense of drama without the intensity of thrill at this point. He is setting the mood for a juxtaposition between the two main characters.

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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.

 

RIGHT OFF THE BAT during opening credits, Hitchcock gets right to the idea, the motif, of "criss-cross." In alternating ground-level shots, we see two taxis arriving at a metropolitan train station. The side doors of both taxis fill the frame as the taxis arrive from opposing directions. They don't cross paths, but if they continued, it appears that they would. The significance of the taxis is that they are bringing two passengers who will converge--and cross each other--in what will ultimately be a fight to the finish.

 

One pair of snappy, white dress shoes with black-capped toe and heel, emerges from the first taxi. Then, a pair of black-shod feet emerge from the second taxi. The black and white shoes walk from right- to left-screen. The second pair of feet walk from left to right. They haven't yet crossed, but they seem to be walking to some midpoint where they will.

 

After the back and forth of these arrival shots, the screen dissolves to a low-angle traveling shot down the tracks from the point of view of the train. This shot continues the motif of parallel lines that never meet, but that can, and do, cross other parallel lines; of separate LIVES that can and do cross each other's path and, if only for a moment, meet. This entire sequence is a literally moving metaphor for--and a meditation on--the randomness, the sheer happenstance, of Life.

 

From this near mesmerizing shot of the tracks criss-crossing each other, the screen dissolves to the interior of a train's club car. Again, the separate pairs of feet are still moving in their already established directions--that is, toward each other. And, finally, when the owners of these feet take their seats, the owners cross their legs. In doing so, the tip of one of the solid black shoes taps--and crosses--one of the black-and-white shoes. As if to punctuate this chance meeting, the music score features a slightly sinister bass clef glissando.

 

With that, we see the owners of these feet for the first time--in a two-shot--Guy left-screen, Bruno right-screen.

Only now do we get the first line of dialog: Bruno's "Excuse me!"

After recognizing Guy as a well-known tennis player, Bruno wastes no time. ("I beg your pardon. Aren't you Guy Haines?"). Instead of staying put, Bruno crosses the narrow width of the club car and, invading Guy's space, seats himself next to Guy at the tiny round top table. Further pushing himself at Guy, Bruno forces a handshake, which, palms facing each other, is the criss-crossing of hands. We briefly see shadows from the club car's horizontal window blinds crossing the chalk stripes of Bruno's suit jacket.

 

In the now-tighter two-shot, we see Guy is wearing a tie featuring a conservative tattersall pattern, the repeated criss-crossing of perfectly perpendicular lines. The shadow lines on Bruno's shoulder, however, are canted across the suit stripes--like a distorted, twisted game of tic-tac-toe.

 

The less talkative Guy, who's brought a book with him, would apparently prefer to be left alone. He only smiles and nods "Yes" when asked if he's the famous tennis player. He gives Bruno no reason whatsoever to cross over to his side of the car. So, has Bruno crossed a line?

 

Well, as it will turn out, yes. As the story unfolds, Bruno will cross many more lines. This, for the entirety of the film, right up until the climax, is going to be Guy's cross to bear.

 

 

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.

 

AS DISCUSSED IN ANSWER #1, the camera shows the taxis arriving from opposite directions. When Guy and Bruno emerge from their respective taxis, they walk in opposing directions.

 

As for their attire, the first contrast is their shoes. Whereas Guy's are sober, dark wingtips, Bruno's are the snappier, more flamboyant black-and-white saddle shoes. Guy's slacks are, again, sober black, while Bruno's suit pants are stylishly chalk-striped with the sheen of perhaps sharkskin. (If it isn't sharkskin, it should have been--the operative word being "shark.")

 

Their clothes are also in opposition: Guy is dressed in conservative dark suit, dark shoes, conservative tie. Bruno, on the other hand, has loud clothes that all but scream for attention. In addition to the black-and-white shoes, he wears a shiny, striped suit. His metallic (silver?) tie clasp is his name--"Bruno"-- in cursive script.

 

Beneath the tie clasp is a strange design that might be...what?...a lobster by Salvador Dali? Whatever it is, it looks like something out of a fantastic nightmare by Hieronymus Bosch. I don't know that it's on screen long enough to register with the audience, but I froze it while taking notes on the sequence. It's either a lobster with pincers that have snapped shut, or two Venus Fly Traps that just snared flies. I'm inclined to think it's the latter, based on Hitchcock's attention to detail and the fact that absolutely nothing in a Hitchcock film winds up on screen by accident--and certainly not something that is shown in extreme close-up. Bruno, of course, would be the voracious plant, Guy the fly. Bruno has yet to "snare" Guy in his psychopathic murder plot, but, in time, he will. Is this weird tie design foreshadowing that eventuality?

 

Upon even closer inspection, I noticed underneath the "fly trap" is what looks distinctly like the symbol for Mars, the Roman god of war--a circle with an arrow at the top pointing northeast. (Is this foreshadowing the future life-and-death struggle between Bruno and Guy?). The symbol for Mars has also come to represent the gender symbol for "Male." Upon still closer inspection, I see that the "arrow" at the top of the orb is on the verge of piercing what looks like an inflated heart. (Does this foreshadow Bruno murdering Guy's wife Miriam, someone Guy may no longer love, but surely once did?)

 

I admit I am laughing while I write this speculation about the bizarre tie design. But, seriously, I do wonder if this wasn't intentional on Hitchcock's part. At the normal speed of the movie, it's really not on the screen long enough for it to clearly register as I've speculated, but it ​is there and practically screams to be noticed. Maybe it was Hitchcock's experiment in subliminal suggestion, to see if the audience would "get it"; or perhaps it was simply a sick in-joke over which Hitchcock and his team had a good laugh. We know from Hitchcock's television program and from many televised interviews that he had a rather impish, perverse sense of humor.

 

Okay, enough about Bruno's strange tie.

 

When it comes to speech, Bruno is the first to say anything. ("Excuse me!") When he immediately recognizes Guy, Bruno can't help himself. A chatterbox, he strikes up a conversation, running on like a magpie. Guy, meanwhile, doesn't speak, but merely smiles and nods--perhaps out of shyness, perhaps out of being overwhelmed by Bruno's pushiness. Guy's only lines in this entire clip are, finally, "How do you do?"; and, when Bruno ironically says, "I don't talk much. You go ahead and read," Guy, with relief, says, "Thanks!" and goes back to his book, as if this will politely ring down the curtain on Bruno's verbal diarrhea. As the clip ends, Bruno is sneaking a peek at whatever it is 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?

 

OVER THE TITLE and opening credits, Dimitri Tiomkin's score is a full-bodied, dramatic, sweeping Hollywood score true to its era--at least at the very beginning. But as the taxis arrive through the barrel-vaulted arch of Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and the feet get out, the composer first punctuates Bruno's snazzy two-tone shoes with a couple of bars of Gershwinesque, metropolitan jazz. He does the same over Guy's black shoes, but toned down a bit. As the two pairs of feet walk purposefully into the station, Tiomkin punctuates each step with staccato notes, the music and every step of the feet in perfect synchronization, as if our two leads are walking in lockstep. This, of course, is ironic because they never will be.

 

Up until the feet enter the train station, the music is upbeat. However, when we dissolve to the train's POV traveling shot on the tracks, the score becomes fuller, more forte, more "muscular" as if to convey the power of the train and its ability to change lives as it delivers people from one place to another--and, as we shall see, how it throws disparate lives together.

 

But when we dissolve to the black-and-white shoes (Bruno's) slowly walking through the club car, the full orchestration reduces to an eerie strain by far fewer instruments--just as Tiomkin did for SHADOW OF A DOUBT when, in the opening sequence, the street scene dissolves to the dark room with a prone Uncle Charlie in deep thought.

 

The pairs of feet finally reach their respective destinations; the men sit. When legs are crossed and Guy's foot taps--and crosses--one of Bruno's feet, Tiomkin's glissando of bass notes puts a sinister button on it, musically confirming that all the crisscrossing of people in the station, the crossing of train tracks, the crossing of hands, the cross-hatching of shadows over a suit's stripes--all of it--have led to this one chance moment, this random encounter that will set a psychopath's "crisscross" murder plot in motion.

 

Great post!

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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

 

Thanks for the link!

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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

 

Check out the noir sub-forums on this site;   In one of them films are 'rated' on the basis of 16 or so noir 'elements'.   Hitchcock films are included.     

 

Of course this doesn't settle the debate of 'is this film a noir or NOT'.    But it does lead to a more robust discussion and provides nuance to age old questions related to noir;   e.g.  can a noir be in color etc.... 

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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.

 

RIGHT OFF THE BAT during opening credits, Hitchcock gets right to the idea, the motif, of "criss-cross." In alternating ground-level shots, we see two taxis arriving at a metropolitan train station. The side doors of both taxis fill the frame as the taxis arrive from opposing directions. They don't cross paths, but if they continued, it appears that they would. The significance of the taxis is that they are bringing two passengers who will converge--and cross each other--in what will ultimately be a fight to the finish.

 

One pair of snappy, white dress shoes with black-capped toe and heel, emerges from the first taxi. Then, a pair of black-shod feet emerge from the second taxi. The black and white shoes walk from right- to left-screen. The second pair of feet walk from left to right. They haven't yet crossed, but they seem to be walking to some midpoint where they will.

 

After the back and forth of these arrival shots, the screen dissolves to a low-angle traveling shot down the tracks from the point of view of the train. This shot continues the motif of parallel lines that never meet, but that can, and do, cross other parallel lines; of separate LIVES that can and do cross each other's path and, if only for a moment, meet. This entire sequence is a literally moving metaphor for--and a meditation on--the randomness, the sheer happenstance, of Life.

 

From this near mesmerizing shot of the tracks criss-crossing each other, the screen dissolves to the interior of a train's club car. Again, the separate pairs of feet are still moving in their already established directions--that is, toward each other. And, finally, when the owners of these feet take their seats, the owners cross their legs. In doing so, the tip of one of the solid black shoes taps--and crosses--one of the black-and-white shoes. As if to punctuate this chance meeting, the music score features a slightly sinister bass clef glissando.

 

With that, we see the owners of these feet for the first time--in a two-shot--Guy left-screen, Bruno right-screen.

Only now do we get the first line of dialog: Bruno's "Excuse me!"

After recognizing Guy as a well-known tennis player, Bruno wastes no time. ("I beg your pardon. Aren't you Guy Haines?"). Instead of staying put, Bruno crosses the narrow width of the club car and, invading Guy's space, seats himself next to Guy at the tiny round top table. Further pushing himself at Guy, Bruno forces a handshake, which, palms facing each other, is the criss-crossing of hands. We briefly see shadows from the club car's horizontal window blinds crossing the chalk stripes of Bruno's suit jacket.

 

In the now-tighter two-shot, we see Guy is wearing a tie featuring a conservative tattersall pattern, the repeated criss-crossing of perfectly perpendicular lines. The shadow lines on Bruno's shoulder, however, are canted across the suit stripes--like a distorted, twisted game of tic-tac-toe.

 

The less talkative Guy, who's brought a book with him, would apparently prefer to be left alone. He only smiles and nods "Yes" when asked if he's the famous tennis player. He gives Bruno no reason whatsoever to cross over to his side of the car. So, has Bruno crossed a line?

 

Well, as it will turn out, yes. As the story unfolds, Bruno will cross many more lines. This, for the entirety of the film, right up until the climax, is going to be Guy's cross to bear.

 

 

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.

 

AS DISCUSSED IN ANSWER #1, the camera shows the taxis arriving from opposite directions. When Guy and Bruno emerge from their respective taxis, they walk in opposing directions.

 

As for their attire, the first contrast is their shoes. Whereas Guy's are sober, dark wingtips, Bruno's are the snappier, more flamboyant black-and-white saddle shoes. Guy's slacks are, again, sober black, while Bruno's suit pants are stylishly chalk-striped with the sheen of perhaps sharkskin. (If it isn't sharkskin, it should have been--the operative word being "shark.")

 

Their clothes are also in opposition: Guy is dressed in conservative dark suit, dark shoes, conservative tie. Bruno, on the other hand, has loud clothes that all but scream for attention. In addition to the black-and-white shoes, he wears a shiny, striped suit. His metallic (silver?) tie clasp is his name--"Bruno"-- in cursive script.

 

Beneath the tie clasp is a strange design that might be...what?...a lobster by Salvador Dali? Whatever it is, it looks like something out of a fantastic nightmare by Hieronymus Bosch. I don't know that it's on screen long enough to register with the audience, but I froze it while taking notes on the sequence. It's either a lobster with pincers that have snapped shut, or two Venus Fly Traps that just snared flies. I'm inclined to think it's the latter, based on Hitchcock's attention to detail and the fact that absolutely nothing in a Hitchcock film winds up on screen by accident--and certainly not something that is shown in extreme close-up. Bruno, of course, would be the voracious plant, Guy the fly. Bruno has yet to "snare" Guy in his psychopathic murder plot, but, in time, he will. Is this weird tie design foreshadowing that eventuality?

 

Upon even closer inspection, I noticed underneath the "fly trap" is what looks distinctly like the symbol for Mars, the Roman god of war--a circle with an arrow at the top pointing northeast. (Is this foreshadowing the future life-and-death struggle between Bruno and Guy?). The symbol for Mars has also come to represent the gender symbol for "Male." Upon still closer inspection, I see that the "arrow" at the top of the orb is on the verge of piercing what looks like an inflated heart. (Does this foreshadow Bruno murdering Guy's wife Miriam, someone Guy may no longer love, but surely once did?)

 

I admit I am laughing while I write this speculation about the bizarre tie design. But, seriously, I do wonder if this wasn't intentional on Hitchcock's part. At the normal speed of the movie, it's really not on the screen long enough for it to clearly register as I've speculated, but it ​is there and practically screams to be noticed. Maybe it was Hitchcock's experiment in subliminal suggestion, to see if the audience would "get it"; or perhaps it was simply a sick in-joke over which Hitchcock and his team had a good laugh. We know from Hitchcock's television program and from many televised interviews that he had a rather impish, perverse sense of humor.

 

Okay, enough about Bruno's strange tie.

 

When it comes to speech, Bruno is the first to say anything. ("Excuse me!") When he immediately recognizes Guy, Bruno can't help himself. A chatterbox, he strikes up a conversation, running on like a magpie. Guy, meanwhile, doesn't speak, but merely smiles and nods--perhaps out of shyness, perhaps out of being overwhelmed by Bruno's pushiness. Guy's only lines in this entire clip are, finally, "How do you do?"; and, when Bruno ironically says, "I don't talk much. You go ahead and read," Guy, with relief, says, "Thanks!" and goes back to his book, as if this will politely ring down the curtain on Bruno's verbal diarrhea. As the clip ends, Bruno is sneaking a peek at whatever it is 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?

 

OVER THE TITLE and opening credits, Dimitri Tiomkin's score is a full-bodied, dramatic, sweeping Hollywood score true to its era--at least at the very beginning. But as the taxis arrive through the barrel-vaulted arch of Washington, D.C.'s Union Station and the feet get out, the composer first punctuates Bruno's snazzy two-tone shoes with a couple of bars of Gershwinesque, metropolitan jazz. He does the same over Guy's black shoes, but toned down a bit. As the two pairs of feet walk purposefully into the station, Tiomkin punctuates each step with staccato notes, the music and every step of the feet in perfect synchronization, as if our two leads are walking in lockstep. This, of course, is ironic because they never will be.

 

Up until the feet enter the train station, the music is upbeat. However, when we dissolve to the train's POV traveling shot on the tracks, the score becomes fuller, more forte, more "muscular" as if to convey the power of the train and its ability to change lives as it delivers people from one place to another--and, as we shall see, how it throws disparate lives together.

 

But when we dissolve to the black-and-white shoes (Bruno's) slowly walking through the club car, the full orchestration reduces to an eerie strain by far fewer instruments--just as Tiomkin did for SHADOW OF A DOUBT when, in the opening sequence, the street scene dissolves to the dark room with a prone Uncle Charlie in deep thought.

 

The pairs of feet finally reach their respective destinations; the men sit. When legs are crossed and Guy's foot taps--and crosses--one of Bruno's feet, Tiomkin's glissando of bass notes puts a sinister button on it, musically confirming that all the crisscrossing of people in the station, the crossing of train tracks, the crossing of hands, the cross-hatching of shadows over a suit's stripes--all of it--have led to this one chance moment, this random encounter that will set a psychopath's "crisscross" murder plot in motion.

 

I read somewhere that Bruno's lobster tie was designed by Hitchcock himself. The powerful claws of the lobster symbolized the powerful hands that Bruno fantasized about using to strangle his mother (and did use to strangle Guy's wife).  

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1. Hitchcock plays with the metaphor of "criss cross" in various ways in the opening scene of Strangers on a Train. There are many visual criss cross elements. The opposing taxis that frame two different men, who enter the station through different doors, the criss crossing train tracks, the two men's crossed legs, the two men across from each other on the train. Another criss cross item that struck me was the music score. There seemed to be a criss cross of musical themes between the two men, an almost comical, lilting theme for Bruno and more serious, smoother theme for Guy.

2. Hitchcock creates a sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno in many ways. The first I noticed was the shoes; Bruno wears much more dramatic shoes, a white and black wing tip, while Guy's shoes are more sedate. The lighting is different beginning when the men leave their taxis. Bruno enters the train station through a tunnel so the lighting is darker and more sinister. Guy enters through a more light filled entrance. Bruno wears a garish tie, while Guy has more understated clothing. Bruno is gregarious and engages Guy in conversation. Guy seems quiet and has little to say, he just wants to read his book. Bruno seems a "close talker" (to steal a Seinfeld term) and invades Guy's space with his larger, louder personality.

3. Dmitri Tiomkin's score really functions as part of the mood of the opening sequence of Strangers on a Train. I was immediately impressed by the criss cross musical themes used to represent each man (a leitmotif). I have not noticed a leitmotif for character being used much in films before and during this time period, but I definitely hear a criss cross of Bruno and Guy's motifs in this opening sequence. I have not seen the film before, so I am excited to hear if the use of these motifs continue throughout the film.

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1. The criss-crossing begins from the moment the two men get out of the taxis. The black and white spectator shoes, which are kind of striped and I could argue that they are criss-crossed, and the black shoes depart in opposite directions. The camera follows first one heading left and the second one heading right.  The train tracks are obvious. Then the spectator shoes man sits and crosses his legs. The other man sits and crosses his legs and finally, the spectator shoes wearer, Bruno, crosses the aisle to sit beside, Guy.

2. Bruno is by far the more outgoing person. His clothes, from his spectator shoes to his hand painted tie are louder than the plain image of Guy. Bruno opens up the conversation, crosses the aisle and invades Guy's space, almost looking over his shoulder as Guy attempts to read.

 

3. There are several times in the music where it seems there is a head-on collision coming but it is interspersed with more light-hearted music. Maybe it's meant to indicate that something bad is coming but it may not look like it at first.

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1. Hitchcock used many ways to express the metaphor of"criss crossing" in the opening scene. The two characters walking in different directions, and they come out from the taxi in two different directions and ways. The complicated train rails or ways that seems to criss cross each other, and going in different direction, symbolizes how these two characters have a distinctively different ways of life and personality. Lastly, Both characters crossing their legs and when their legs slightly hit each other, it is a point of change that symbolizes conflict between them, their ways are not the same.

 

2. Bruno and Guys were really different. Bruno wears a shoes with white of it. Bruno's shoes seem flashy and it makes him look like a fun, crazy, chaotic person, while Guy's shoes looks really simple and neat like what a true calm gentleman would wear. For Guy, the camera work seems more settle. It is more slow and steady, while the movement of camera in Bruno's shoes seem more fast paced. Bruno seems talkative and really confident in his way of speaking and dressing, while Guy seems more quiet and innocent, as well as not that confident with himself and it can be seen through his simple style of dressing and minimum amount of speaking compare to Bruno.

 

3. The score/music certainly has different tone. When Bruno is in the scene, the drums sound comes up and the music became more upbeat and intense. When Guy is in the scene, the music became more softer and light hearted, as well as calm. The music was use in such a profound, subtle manner to represents the "criss cross" between these two contradicting characters.

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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.

 

The taxi's, the entrances, the score, the train tracks, opposing sides. 

As they begin to mesh the music changes. 

 

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 more garish. His shoes are not plain like Guy's. He has a printed tie. His music is more cartoonish and quicker while Guy's slow's down in the first moments. Bruno asserts his dominance by shaking Guy's hand without it being given. Bruno holds himself and moves precisely, while Guy moves as any man does. Bruno has a more feminine stride. I believe that Bruno uses his more feminine qualities as a way to appear unassuming while asserting his dominance on people. 

 

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 never took much notice of the score until now but I have to say the differences in the music that scores Guy's walk and Bruno's are pretty clear. The change becomes more apparent as the characters get closer to meeting. 

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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 coming in from opposite sides of the frame, towards each other. The tracks are the paths we choose, leading us to chance encounters. The cabs even come in from opposite directions. Bruno and Guy even occupy opposite sides of the frame until Bruno comes over.

     

  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 loud, even though he says he doesn't like to talk. His shoes draw attention. His tie draws attention. His tie bar draws attention. Guy is quiet and conservative. The only way he draws attention to himself is by accidentally brushing his foot against Bruno's. 

     

  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 makes me feel like I'm travelling, that there is motion. While we are watching the feet, the music has the cadence of a march. When Bruno enters the club car and sits, there is a motif of mystery, of danger in the music. Guy's entrance has music that more matches the rest of the music. These imply Guy is normal, while Bruno isn't.

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In this opening sequence, Hitchcock cleverly uses the railroad motif to symbolize the the criss-crossing of lives that plays out between Guy and Bruno.  The respective arrival shots of Guy and Bruno (from left to right and right to left, in the respective frames) also communicate a collision course, as well.  The bumping of their shoes is the physical manifestation of the criss0crossing

 

Hitchcock creates a sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno in their dress (i.e., Guy dresses tastefully and conservatively, whereas Bruno dress is flamboyuently gaudy).  It's also interesting that Guy's suitcase  likewise appears to be made with quality, whereas Bruno's suitcase appears cheap.

 

Dimitri Tiomkin score sets the mood in this opening sequence with strings for a sense of pathos, horns for a sense of brashness, and the full orchestra for a sense of foreboding.

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Hitchcock establishes the crisscross with the scene of two different cabs entering station. The focus on 2 different pairs of shoes and 2 man carrying suitcases and the scene of  crisscrossing train tracks.

 

The difference between Bruno and Guy is Bruno wears tacky flashy clothing. Whereas Guy is plain well dressed and soft spoken.

The score seems very rich and strong it seems to build up giving a sense of suspense and danger.

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  There are many allusions to criss cross patterns in this opening of Mr. Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train."  The two men, Guy and Bruno, are first introduced in a cross cut meeting while disembarking from two identical "diamond" taxis to the same train. Guy has two tennis rackets held in a criss cross grasp next to his rather plain, dark luggage. Bruno has white and flashier luggage. White for luggage is not very practical.  The Tiomkin music plays the same bouncy theme for the two men yet with Bruno it is highlighted by lighter and more airy instruments as horns and strings whereas with Guy there are deeper, earthier sounds with the bigger horns and a more sonorous resonance. Bruno has a more jazzy and upbeat sound echoing his walk. He has a lighter, delicate step and Guy has a more planted, firm step, and heavy.  Their shoes reflect these differences as the two men cross-over to the train and their shoes are only shown in this opening scene. Bruno's shoes are two tone and black and white and show a playful side. Guy's shoes are more flat and practical and dark in color. Guy, a guy the Everyman, and Bruno, a name implying a tough guy image, finally meet on the train. They cross bump shoes accidentally as seated across from one another. Guy's clothing is all but the same dark, wool texture and fits rather big and floppy to his form and Bruno's is pin-striped and form fitting. Bruno likes fashion details and Guy just well, dresses practically. Bruno has a criss -crossed handkerchief in his lapel pocket, Guy has no handkerchief . Guy has a checkered black and white tie hidden and covered over by a dark vest and Bruno has a dark tie that his mother bought him by the way, with a flashy crustacean theme imprinted, he has a tie clasp emblazoning his name. He draws attention to it. Guy has a book to read on the train indicating an introverted type, Bruno has no reading material and appears the extrovert as he starts a conversation and sidles up to the uncomfortable Guy. The two are counterpoint to one another from the spring in their steps, their dress, their interests as a book and tennis. The crustacean design to Bruno's tie may imply a bottom feeder mentality dressed up as a snazzy delicacy. He starts the conversation with flattery and Guy seems little interested. Once Bruno sits next to Guy rather than across from, Bruno now melds and changes the criss cross interplay of the two men. They are now joined for some unexplained reason as the direction of the train decides on one track for the journey from the choice of a criss-crossed two.

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There are several "criss-crosses" that I noticed and I think analyzing them increases my appreciation for Hitchcock's genius. The train tracks are the obvious "criss-crosses" in this clip, and as it has been brought out, they're going different ways, which is symbolic for the characters in the story. I also noticed the back and forth shots of the characters getting out of the cars and walking to the train. The camera shots show Bruno walking in one direction, while Guy is walking in the other direction. Together, this can be a criss-cross, as well as the back and forth shots between characters. Then, of course, Hitchcock takes this criss-crossing even further as they both cross their legs, which is an interesting, unconventional, and brilliant way of introducing them to each other.

 

I already touched on camera shots between characters a little, but clothes are another obvious contrast. Bruno is dressed in bright spectator shoes, a tie with lobsters on it (which I found amusing), and a tie clip that makes him look a little egotistical (even if he says he has to wear it because it's from his mother, which I can completely relate to!). Guy is dressed in plain shoes, suit and tie, and seems more reserved and quiet through his speech. Bruno is more outgoing, as he starts the conversation, takes a seat next to Guy, and uses both hands to shake Guy's hand.

 

Tiomkin's score during the opening credits creates a dramatic atmosphere and then continues to add personality to the characters, especially Bruno. It has a comedic mood to it, as if to introduce this flamboyant character. Also, the music is in sync with their actions, such as Guy bumping into Bruno's foot--another aspect from silent movies of using sound to convey feelings or emphasize actions. Overall, the score is light-hearted and doesn't give me any reason to suspect something dark yet.

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The arrivals of Bruno and Guy at the train station and their entrances onto the platform are more parallel than criss cross. The differences in their movements, as the difference in the music accompanying each of them, are subtle.  Bruno may move slightly faster, bouncier, longer steps. Their  fashion choices strongly differ, reflecting their contrasting personalities; Bruno's wears white shoes and striped pants, his gaudy, easily seen necktie is emblazoned with his name, his suitcase is light colored; Guy wears dark shoes and plain, dark slacks, his necktie is striped and tucked in his vest, his suitcase is dark colored.  Their personalities are revealed when they speak; Bruno is talkative and pushy; Guy is quieter, restrained, friendly, but distant. 

 

The "X" pattern of the railroad tracks as the train leaves the station is an obvious criss cross. As Bruno crosses his legs, Guy kicks his foot, and the handshake involves a crossing of their arms.

 

Music can be an important element to help guide the emotional responses of a viewer.  The music is mostly light and easy over the credits but picks up and becomes more dramatic as each man leaves his cab. A light and playful tune accompanies each of them during the walk to the platform, and the music continues more or less the same, with the addition of some more dramatic accent notes, through the moment when they bump shoes on the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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's shoes are flashier and more stylish than Guy's plain shoes. I'm not sure if it's the way Bruno walks or the cut of his pants, but even his pants have more of a swish when he walks, compared to Guy. Guy seems more calm and quiet. Bruno starts the conversation, moves to sit right next to Guy and even shows off his tie pin. Guy just seems to take it all in and early on seems to get caught in the whirlwind of Bruno's life. I think all of us can read Guy's mind when Bruno says "I don't talk much, you can go ahead and read".

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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. The criss-cross set up is visually present in the shot of the railroad transfer yard and the shot of the feet of the two men who, when they finally tap shoes, we see who they are. A criss-cross of chance.

 

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. For Bruno, the clothes are more polished, the shoes are more expensive; his speech is more forward and controlling yet he comes off like a "momma's boy". The lighting on Bruno seem to stand out more like a spot light. As for Guy, the total opposite. His clothes are fair, his shoes are practical, his manners are less forward and by reading a book, he gives the impression that he just wants to be alone. The lighting on him is softer and less sharp creating a more likable impression.

 

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 moves the characters into position. You are waiting for that shoe tap and the beginning of the ride.

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Everyone has done such a thorough job on our questions this week that I would like to take the opportunity to bring up something else.

 

In an earlier discussion between the professors, both agreed that Gregory Peck just "didn't work" as a Hitchcock lead male. Deep down I knew I had always felt that Peck was an odd man out and hearing our professors say that got me wondering why.  Was he too good looking? Cary Grant is about as good looking as they come. Was he too "every man"?  Jimmy Stewart was America's "every man."  

 

I've come to the conclusion that Peck was just too upright and earnest.  Aside from "Duel In The Sun", I can't think of any role of the period in which he was a bad guy or even in which he needed to give off multi-layered complex vibes. I don't even think his Ahab was multi-layered; instead, Peck gives a more "what you see is what you get," perhaps a more straightforward affect than a Hitchcock man needs. Peck is perfect for "The Yearling" and "Mockingbird", - of course- "Gentleman's Agreement."  

 

When I go back to Jimmy Stewart, I see he doesn't have the physical presence that Peck has. He's lanky and not too broad-shouldered (which is why Stewart was perfect for "High Noon." * He doesn't necessarily look like a strong character.)   He therefore makes a good Hitchcock type because he will be weak enough, psychologically, physically,  when needed.  I mean, try to imagine Peck wearing a robe stuck in the wheelchair in "Rear Window."  I can't.   

 

Peck's charm is notched at the right level, handsome, but natural with his style,  not overplayed like Grant's whose charm than can be iced up to cut- as he does in "Notorious."  Grant's ability to make his  face freeze with a half smile and flat dead eyes gives him a edge you wouldn't think was there by watching only his comedies. 

 

Just my take on why Peck doesn't seem like a Hitchcockian protagonist- he doesn't muster the weakness or dark side that is needed. 

 

*My edit the morning after waking up at 3:00 am with a thought:   Silly me,  Stewart wasn't in High Noon!  That was Gary Cooper, so I need to rethink this.  How about using Mr Smith Goes to Washington as an example instead of a man who doesn't necessarily appear strong, who can be played by others, but ....? 

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Dr. Edwards calls it criss-crossing; I call it mirroring!  We have two men, they are going to cross paths, but the way Hitch sets the shots up, the viewer is supposed to contrast these individuals by seeing the shoes they wear, the luggage they carry, and as our teacher, says they way dress and speak to one another at the beginning of the film.

 

First, we see a flashy dresser with diamond patterned shoes, getting out of the cab.  These are "loud" shoes and only a "loud" person would have the boldness, brashness, or even crassness to wear them. He has two suit cases.

 

The other man has plain, sensible shoes, steady shoes if you will.  He has one suitcase and two or three tennis rackets.  Oh, the sturdy shoes; he plays tennis a lot.  He's on his feet, moving, so he needs good solid, shoes.  Both men move toward the train and get on it.  We're going for a ride.

 

I think it is here where the train tracks criss-cross each other as Dr. Edwards mentions.  Hitchcock uses trains, records, clocks, windmills, things that move, so he keeps his viewers moving with him as we go on this journey with the characters.  He does not waste a frame of film in this sense of the word.  He wants continues movement as if we are on a ride.

 

"Bold" shoes sit down near a table and soon after he joined by "sturdy" shoes and his "sturdy" shoes bump into Mr. "Bold" shoes.  "Bold" shoes look up, does a double take, then recognizes, "sturdy" shoes as and I can't even remember Farley Granger's name, but I know he plays professional tennis.  However, everyone remembers "loud" shoes' name: BRUNO!  His tie is as loud as his shoes and his dear mother brought a tie clip, which bears his name.  He's brash to disturb the young, shy tennis pro and introduces himself with a hardy, handshake! Bruno points to the clip and then tells whats-his-name to keep reading his book because he doesn't talk too much.  The viewer knows right away that is a lie.  We don't know whats coming but we do know BRUNO is going to disturb "steady" shoes a lot.

 

These characters are going to criss-cross, or as I put it, mirror each other through out the film.  Move for move, like a tennis match or chess game!  Their personalities are also going to mirror one another and cast a shadow on each other.

 

Hitchcock hinted at this idea earlier in Shadow of a Doubt when Charlies is leaving the library after she has read the article on "The Merry Widow Murders" and we see her long shadow at the door way.  The viewer understands the long shadow Uncle Charlie casts over Charlie and her family.

 

Bruno will bring out things "sturdy" shoes and in the audience, don't like to think about.  We keep them in the dark.  Bruno's boldness or psychopathy brings them out of him and the audience.  

 

This is the guilt, Dr. Edwards mentions in the video.  We've all imagined doing horrible things; we just don't have the "boldness" or craziness Bruno has to do them.  Sometimes, we wish we did and that is why we feel guilty just like "sturdy" shoes. 

 

Hitchcock holds a mirror up to us and we see reflections of ourselves and we're not sure how we really feel that too is why we feel guilty for liking him or rooting for Bruno.

 

 

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1. We start off with arrival of the taxis and the two men walking from opposite directions to the station. They continue through the station still in opposite directions heading toward the train itself. The train tracks criss cross as the train goes down the track also heading toward the station. They continue to criss cross, become one track then separate and continue to criss cross again. It is fascinating to watch this sequence of the train tracks, almost like staring at a campfire. The two men enter the train from opposite directions. They both cross their legs when they first sit down. Both sitting on opposite sides of the table.

 

2. Bruno arrives first, fancy two-toned shoes, flashy striped suit walking with a pep in his step. As if to say "Look at Me, Here I am."

    Guy arrives second, dressed conservatively in a dark suit, dark shoes walking purposely toward his destination. 

   Bruno strikes up the conversation while guy silently listens. Bruno crosses over and continues the conversation as invades Guy's      personal space. Drawing more attention to himself with the loud tie and personalized tie pin with not just his initials but his full first name in cursive letters. Guy is just trying to read his book and is relieved when Bruno say "I don't talk much, go ahed and read your book". But we know this conversation is far from over.

 

3. At first during the credits the music is loud and very dramatic with lots of powerful notes. As the taxis arrive and the men start walking the intensity of the music changes and is more lively. 

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1) I love this movie. In the prior course on Film Noir we analyzed this scene for elements of noir style.This time I am looking for Hitchcock's style of telling us the story with his camera first.. His focus is on the movie's theme of "criss cross" therefore the camera shows us different ways of crossing or interchanging. The first images we see are the two main characters arriving in separate taxis and exiting from different car doors. They are wearing different types of shoes and walking toward their seat on the train from different directions. They sit, cross their legs and their shoes rhythmically touch. The next image is from the train engineer's view at the front seat.The train tracks are intersecting lines as the train moves on this perilous journey.

 

2)Hitchcock makes it a point to show how different these two men are. Bruno is wearing flashy two toned shoes and a pin striped suit. Guy on the other hand is wearing sporty toned down clothes and casual shoes.Our director makes sure to indicate that their behavior and demeanor, at this point, reflects their choice in dress. So smart

 

3) At the beginning of this scene, the music is powerful, full of drama and fully orchestrated. As the men arrive at the station, the music lightens in tone and becomes more animated and snazzy especially when Bruno is shown. When the camera is on Guy, the music remains joyous but a bit more grounded or less comical so to speak.

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