Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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1.  Criss-Cross

First you notice the crossed railroad tracks - crossing over and over.  On the train the two men cross their legs and bump into each other.

 

2.  Contrast in appearance

The first contrast to me, of course, is in their appearance.  Bruno is dressed 'to the nines' and is more flashy - especially with the spectator shoes and the lobster tie.  Guy, on the other hand, is casual and more conservative in his clothing as well as his manner.  Bruno chatters away and shares too much information and Guy only confirms information that Bruno already knows - and does that rather reluctantly. Bruno comes across as very self-assured and more charismatic but also maybe a little 'off' somehow.  Guy is friendly and somewhat private.

 

3.  Dimitri Tiomkin score

I thought the score was somewhat dramatic in nature but certainly not 'doom and gloom.'  Cutting to the men exiting the cars the music changed and the music was a bit different for each man.  That part of the music seemed to suggest the business of traveling, hustle and bustle, etc.

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Daily Dose #13: Criss Cross

Opening Scene from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951)

 

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.

 

This question reminds me of those illustrations where the viewer is asked how many animals can be found? It also brings to mind the “X” direction for scenes where many extras are featured walking through a scene by crossing each others paths in an “X” pattern. Anyway:

the paths the two main characters take entering and walking in the train station would form a criss cross (X) pattern if they were to be placed on top of each other: Robert Walker exits his cab walking from middle frame to the left; Farley Granger is shown doing the same actions from middle frame to the right.

 

As the train is underway we are shown its POV of the tracks ahead. A large “X” is shown being approached, with the train switching to the rails that go off at angle instead of the ones that were straight ahead. Once that happens a pair of “X”s are shown, followed by another single “X” track line.

 

In the dining car. Robert Walker is walking from frame right to a chair where he sits crossing his legs forming an “X”. Farley Granger is shown walking in the dining car from frame left to an opposite chair where he sits, crossing his legs to form an “X”.

 

Robert Walker crosses his hands when he begins conversing with Granger. Then crosses the dining car to sit next to Granger crossing his hands over Granger’s in a hand shake.

 

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.

 

Camera Work - main characters contrasted by being shown moving in opposite directions within the frame and scenes.

Clothing and Shoes - Robert Walker, Bruno, is introduced in “flashy” shoes with an obvious white/black pattern. His suit features a pin stripe pattern that stands out. Farley Granger is introduced in solid colored shoes that almost disappear into  matching slacks.In the dining car opposite each other Walker’s clothing is extremely noticeable almost to the point of being gaudy with a tie pin that he apologizes for. Granger wears a conservative dark jacket that blends into a dark vest.

 

Personal Items - Walker exits his cab with one suitcase, light colored, made of inexpensive weave and worn/frayed around the edges. Granger exits his cab with three items, a suitcase and two tennis racquets. In addition to having more luggage than Walker, Granger’s suitcase is made of what appears to be expensive leather, scuffed in various places.

 

Dialogue and Speech - Walker’s character initiates and has the majority of dialog in the scene. He obviously flatters in an attempt to ingratiate himself, then crosses the dining car and attempts to appear self deprecating by criticizing his tie pin ignoring his loud patterned tie. Granger’s dialog is limited to reacting to whatever Walker is saying. Although he has initiated, dominated the conversation the scene ends on with humor from Walker directing Granger to continue reading as he, Walker, doesn’t talk very much. 

 

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 the movie with the full orchestra announcing we are seeing a film that will feature intense emotions and an experience. After the opening titles, Tiomkin limits the orchestra to a few instruments, the scoring emphasizes the comedy elements of the action, to the point of poking fun at one of the characters shoes by introducing a brief trombone note. As the scene continues the score retreats, blending in with the sound effects of a train over tracks. Both score and sound effect fade out, thereby focusing attention on the dialog that follows.

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1.  The idea of "criss cross" is first set up visually with the contrasting way the two characters are presented.  Bruno's taxi is shot from the front, looking back.  Guy's taxi is shot from the back, looking forward.  Bruno's feet are shot moving right to left, while Guy's feet are shot moving left to right.   The music and more rapid cutting in this section imply two characters whose paths are bound to "cross."  Then of course the cut to the crossing train tracks.  This does seem to be the perfect metaphor for two characters, whose paths may run parallel for awhile, then diverge.  Finally, we get the crossing feet.  As a matter of fact, it is this seemingly simple act, Guy crossing his feet, that sets the entire movie into motion.  

(It is also perhaps worth noting, although probably not deliberate, the two characters get out of "Diamond Cabs".  In railroad parlance, a diamond junction is a junction of two crossing tracks.)

 

2.  The contrasting styles are established from the moment we see the feet exiting the taxis.  Bruno is a much more flashy dresser, whereas Guy is dressed in a more straightforward manner.  (Guy's clothes would allow him to blend in a crowd, while Bruno's clothes cause him to stand out.)    Nothing is more gaudy than Bruno's tie clasp and lobster tie, which was made especially for the movie.   There are slightly contrasting musical cues for the two characters when they exit their taxis.  

Guy is established as a more reticent character, which matches his dress.  While Bruno clearly wants to engage.  He comes and sits almost inappropriately close to Guy, and when he says he won't talk, we know he probably do nothing but.

 

3.  I enjoy Tiomkin's score very much.  He isn't as well remembered as several other composers from the golden age of Hollywood, I think in part because of his scores tended to be very grandiose by today's standards. But his scores always have charm, something many of today's scores could use more of.  The music is perfectly married to the images, and narrates the opening of the movie in its own way.

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Lots of criss cross chat happening this week. When I watched the clip it was if Bruno and Guy were coming from opposite corners of the earth. This scene clearly states two ordinary people with total opposite persona are in for an extraordinary adventure. Introvert and extrovert, young and older, athlete and spectator, reader and talker, and last but not least victim and murderer. This also shows visually with editing and my favorite an introduction of a film using legs crossing and the foot bump as a conversation que to the mayhem we are about to witness. The musical score follows our characters even down to the steps they are walking priming the audience for another where is this train going mood. Love Love Love this movie.

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1. Criss-cross is seen throughout the scene, some may not be intentional, but who knows. To start, the cars at the far end of the train station are crossing in front of each other, one from the left, then one from the right. This one may be a bit of a stretch, but the cab company is Diamond, something about diamonds makes me think of criss-cross (cuts). Bruno's pant leg is mysteriously askew, but not so mysterious when you realize we can see the criss-cross pattern of his shoelaces. Then Guy gets out of the cab, tennis rackets and all, which also connote a criss-cross pattern. They appear to come from different sides of the station, criss-crossing paths, then as they go through the gate there's a criss-cross pattern on the wall (to the left of the turnstile). The train tracks and their legs under the table are the two obvious ones, and also the woman's legs as Bruno sits down. Next is Guy's tie, that's definitely a criss-cross pattern (similar to the one on the floor of the train station), and the pattern in Bruno's suit. Based on their dress and appearance, they are most certainly from disparate backgrounds. Okay, while not all these may be intentional, I think it's okay to think they might be.

2. They are dressed as if they come from two different sides of the tracks, Bruno, much more well dressed than working class Guy. But also in their general appearance, whether it's age, mannerisms or whatever, they're just different, Bruno more confident, and willing to reach across the aisle, while Guy is less cordial and more focused on what he's reading than getting to know someone new.

3. The music is grand, positive and upbeat, signifying the excitement of train travel and the hustle and bustle of a train station. Everything seems okay, then it builds, a little sinister for a moment, then it quietly fades, for the chance meeting about to occur.

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1) Criss-cross(ing) is very apparent all throughout the opening of this film Strangers on a Train from the obvious shots of the train tracks, to the not as heavily implied. The vehicles near the train station are passing by one another in a crossing motion, the cab reads Diamond and all of the times that I have seen a diamond the light seems to radiate off of the many different faces of each particular cut. The character's bustling movements help showcase other forms of criss-cross due to the factor of Bruno's pant leg being slightly elevated there is a detail about his crossing shoelaces, while Guy has some tennis rackets that are obviously criss-crossed. The two men are at opposite ends of the train station, and cross each other's path to get to their respective seats, in which the two men then bump each others feet, and the scene truly begins.

 

2) Guy seems to be more closed off, he's currently reading through some papers and dressed more casually. Compared to Bruno who is dressed far more sophisticated and is more personable. Also he has some pretty fancy shoes compared to Guy's simple black shoes, etc.

 

3) The music is very positive and it gives the reader's a sense of upbeat calm in a busy world such as the everyday hustle at a train station, then there is a moment of tenseness just before Bruno and Guy's interaction.

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I am noticing more detail as the class progresses.  Now I am obsessed by shoes (note tennis shoes at the end of the movie.  What do they signify?)  I love the contrast of Bruno to Guy, the tie and tie pin--all kind of brash.  Seems opposite of how the characters turn out in that guy is dressed in dark and somber clothes--if it were not for the tennis gear (which actually helps to distinguish his feet from others in the train station).  Bruno is seemingly friendly, outgoing, possibly more likable, but maybe he is just a little too much.  Back to the shoes.  (I can't remember the name of this style--saddle shoe?) Bruno's shoes are childlike, not indicating youthful vigor as much as a lack of maturity, perhaps from some crisscross on the home front.

 

I love the innocence of Hitchcock accounting for the crisscross shot of the railroad tracks as a happenstance of where he had to mount the camera.  What kind of shoes was he wearing while boarding the train?  Ah, an excuse to see the film again.

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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.  Numerous examples of criss-crossing from walking, train tracks to Guy and Bruno crossing their legs when sitting down

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.  Much contrast between the two:  Bruno is talkative, loud clothing and shoes while Guy is non-talkative, subdued clothing and shoes.  The camera takes each of these into account when filming the scene.

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 uses a good mix and transition between impending excitement, to a subdued entrance for the characters Guy and Bruno, then moving into an animated score that somewhat depicts the character differences. 

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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.

He uses cabs, luggage, waking and finally the rail and shoes to visually manifest the crisscrossing in the sequence.

 

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.

Contrast is clear from the star as the two main characters come out of the taxi cab. Again, different types of luggage, different types of clothing and manners... all of it giving attention to the shoes which brings out information about social background.

 

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's score brings attention to the mood of the film.

While serious gives you the sense of joy. Playful tune that can bring about a bit of satire from one of the 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.                                           The train tracks are the most obvious "criss cross" in the opening sequence. However, other "criss crosses" are: people crossing the station, the cars in the street outside the station moving in both directions, Bruno and Guy approaching their seats from opposite directions, the crossed legs of both Bruno and Guy. Guy's arms are also crossed; Bruno crosses over to sit with Guy; the seats are across from 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.

 

Their clothing seems the most visually apparent difference:  Bruno wears a loud, striped suit and loud tie with two-toned spectator shoes, while Guy wears a solid colored suit and shoes.  Guy also seems shy and soft-spoken, while Bruno is more of a self-confident kind of wise-guy.  Bruno's walk is also more strutting than Guy's.  Bruno is more aggressive in that he moves over and sits with Guy before being invited.

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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 has a "dramatic" sound--you know something is about to happen.  As the camera is on Bruno's feet, the music sounds almost "**** tonk," while Guy's is softer.  The music builds and rises to a crescendo as Bruno and Guy are walking to the train to their inevitable and fateful 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. There are many ways in which the idea of "criss cross" are used. Examples include the cars and people crossing the street/intersections, the train tracks, when Bruno and Guy's feet are seen together as though they have met on the train as well as various body language (legs and arms crossed). 

 

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 a contrast between light and dark shoes. Their clothing is different. Bruno has a tacky tie clip and lobster tie while Guy is dressed more classy and upscale. Guy is very polite and formal while Bruno is very brash, crude and as informal as possible. 

 

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? His use of contrast with the music narrates the action as well as defines the characters of Bruno and Guy. 

 

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After watching Stage Fright, I can see Hitchcock's prelude to Strangers on a Train.   As I posted earlier about mirroring, there were pairs and doubles and mirrors all through Stage Fright.  This film was a laugh riot and I loved Alister Sim.  I wanted to see Sim in every scene of this dark comedy.  We even see Eve's mom; we see this couple.  She's a bit off and he doesn't live with her.

 

Marlena Detrich's character as a faux fem-fatal and "Johnny" Noir were wonderful send-ups.  "Johnny" loves her, but she's using him.  Then, Hitchcock introduces us to "Johnny's" friend, Eve, Jane Wyman, who is in love with him, the way he loves Detrich!  She is an aspiring actress; Detrich's character is a stage performer: mirrors and an unrequited love triangle.  

 

When we hear the name Eve, we often think uh-oh, she's going to be trouble, but in this case, Hitch gives us a good Eve.  Everyone thinks Johnny killed Detrich's husband, but Eve believes in him. She hides him and then sets out to prove he's innocent.  

 

We are then introduced to "Johnny's" double, Detective "Ordinary" Smith.  Eve pretends to be ill to get information from him about the murder; she also wants him to believe Detrich's character is in on everything and really killed her own husband.  (Hitch got me here; I honestly believed "Ordinary" was on to Eve the whole time.)

 

If you watched the film, you know the rest of the story.  If you didn't, I would recommend watching it because you will see how Hitchcock is working on little details here he will perfect in  Strangers. Detrich's Charlotte and Eve mirror each other, while Johnny and Ordinary mirror each other. Everyone is playing a part except for "Ordinary" just like "Guy" in  Strangers.  

 

The end of Stage Fright foreshadows Strangers.  Johnny and Eve are hiding in a carousel looking coach on the stage much like the one at the Carnival in  Strangers.  There are shadows across Johnny and Eve's eyes; Johnny's thinking about killing her.  Watch the end of the film and the stage curtain comes down on Johnny and it is a prelude to the carousel crash at the end of  Strangers.  

 

Hitchcock had a better script with  Strangers on a Train and used techniques he had been using from earlier films to perfection.  On TCM, Ben and his guest, Phillip', talked about how the films from The Paradine Case through Stage Fright were not successful, but I could see in Rope and Stage Fright the use of the lighter as a prop that would later become so much a part of this later film.  I see how he built on the strange relationship Eve's parents had to the strained relationship between Bruno's parents.  Eve's mom is batty, so is Bruno's!  Phillip' talked about Bruno and his mom as a prelude to Norman Bates and his mom; I agree!  However, I see the preludes in Stage Fright!  

 

I'm glad I got to see Rope and Stage Fright back to back; I could see the progression in Hitchcock's story telling and directing methods in both films as he honed his craft toward better films. 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 most obvious is the high angle POV shot of the train tracks.  Shortly after, both men cross their legs with the shoes we have been watching bumping each other to start the conversation.  At the very start, the direction in which the characters cross the screen, alternating from left to right to right to left, is almost a 'criss cross', in addition to the idea of mirroring.  Similarly, one car (the car in which Bruno arrives) has 'suicide doors' hinged at the rear, while the doors on Guy's car opens the opposite way.

 

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 shoes, of course, and the suits -- Bruno appearing a bit more tailored and polished than Guy.  The shot of the tennis racquets immediately establishes Guy as, potentially, more of a man of leisure, although we soon come to know that, really, almost the opposite is true -- Bruno is the one who has the means to roam about the country at leisure.  The way Walker delivers the dialogue for Bruno is brilliant -- syrup-y sweet and confident, while Guy seems shy and hesitant.

 

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?  As in many of Hitch's pictures to date, the music is light-hearted and upbeat, a contrast to the more dark aspects of the film to come.

 

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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 intro scene has a lot of "criss crossing" the two men getting out of cabs from opposite sides of the screens (and cabs), one man walking to the left the other to the right. The train tracks cross each other as do the mens' legs on the train. The men's suits also criss cross as one has stripes and the other is solid. One man likes to talk as the other likes to read.

 

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.

One man has black and white shoes with a striped suit as the other has solid colored shoes and suit. The man that is all solid colors wants to read and is quiet as the more "loud" clothed man is very talkative.

 

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 very upbeat and has a "joyous" tone when the two enter, as they are walking the music has a marching sound as they walk into the train station. When their shoes touch the music has a playful pop to it.

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Daily Dose #13: Criss Cross

Opening Scene from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951)

 

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.

 

In the introductory sequence of Stranger, Hitchcock played with "criss-cross" in several ways. First he used the railroad tracks, then he used the taxis crisscrossing each other getting to the train station. (I say this because they seem to get to the station about the same time). He used the men each crossing their legs on the train.

 

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.

 

Hitchcock creates a sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno by portraying first the luggage and articles that they had carried to the train. Guy had his tennis rackets, luggage and book whereas, Bruno had only luggage. He however, looked as if there were tags on it suggesting that he had been traveling a lot. Bruno also seem to have a tailored suit and stylish shoes, and Guy who looked nice in his suit did not have the distinguished look as Bruno. Guy appeared to have been the happy go lucky - polite kid and Bruno appeared to be a little older, spoiled seen by his showing the tie that was embroidered by his mother. Bruno wanted to carry a conversation and Guy seemed to want to read his 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?

 

 Dimitri Tiomkin's musical score was background instrumental music with both a dramatic, happy/playful, mysterious - something is about to happen tone.

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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 biggest element to me was, as mentioned in the lecture video or the readings, are the criss-crossing railroad tracks.  I guess there was the criss-crossing, as it were, of the two cabs the men took.  They seated themselves opposite each other on the train, but then Bruno crosses over to Guy's side to sit next to him.  I didn't think about what some others mentioned that was another criss-crossing and that is that both men crossed their legs when they sat down!

 

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 to camera-work, Hitchcock has each man walking through the station appearing to come from two opposite directions, looking like their paths might cross.  (I guess this is also another example for question #1 above.)  Guy seems more "everyman," more workaday in his choice of clothes and shoes, Bruno quite flashy in his spectator shoes and "Bruno" tie clip.  Bruno seems much more outgoing and chatty, while Guy appears, at least here, more reserved, less talky. 

 

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 is a very sweeping, dramatic score and seems like it is a prelude to something big happening.

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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 most obvious way is by showing the train tracks crossing. I can perceive also a cross between instruments, or two different melodies in the soundtrack. They also don’t cross paths until they are inside the train – for instance, they don’t pass the gate one after the other, but with several people between one and the other.

 

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

The first contrast we notice is in their shoes. Bruno wears black and white, dandy shoes, while Guy wears all black, traditional shoes. Bruno wears pants with little stripes, while Guy wears plain pants. Guy has a checkered tie, while Bruno has one with lobsters – and his name. Bruno starts the conversation and introduces himself – he’s a man that gets things done. Both have  men carrying their luggage, though.

 

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

I hear the song in a crescendo – until they meet. The song is thrilling, but it is as if announcing that something solemn was about to start.

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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 first criss-cross occurs when the taxis are dropping the men off at the train station. One is dropped off from the left and the other from the right. The next is the way the men are walking toward the train…again, one from the left and one from the right. The third instance is the visual of the train tracks which criss-cross and the visual where you think the train will go straight, but it goes to the right. The fourth is where the men are walking to their seats…again, one from the left and one from the right. The fifth is where during their walk, they walk in front of women and men who have their legs crossed. The sixth is where both men, after sitting down, cross their legs which leads to Guy’s foot bumping in to Bruno’s foot. The seventh is the man in the background moving or crossing from the left side to the right side.


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


In clothing, Bruno’s wardrobe is what I would call a “dandy.”  He has white wing-tipped shoes, a pin-stripped suit and flowered tie and a tie clasp in the shape of his name.  It definitely gives you the feeling that he feels self-important and narcisstic.  Guy, on the other hand, is dressed mainly in dark conservative colors and almost a sporty look, especially since he is a tennis player. The cameral work is almost identical, just from the opposite signs. Bruno’s speech and body language is overpowering whereas Guy’s is quiet and subdued.


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


The music is sweeping at first and then become more somber.  When the men depart from their taxis, the music almost the same, but there are slight differences. It stays the same until the train starts moving and then it becomes bolder. It slows down when the men are walking towards their seats, and as they bump feet the music imitates the bump making it very obvious that the bump is a harbinger of things to come.


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First "criss cross" metaphor we see is when the taxis cross, dropping off the men from the left and right. The second way is when the two men are walking toward the train, one from the left and one from the right. The third "criss cross" metaphor we look at is when the train crosses the tracks. The next way is when the men walk to their seats. During the men walking, we notice both men and women have their legs crossed. The next metaphor is when the men sit, their legs cross, which leads to Guy's foot bumping to Bruno's foot. The last metaphor is the man in the background crosses from left to right.Bruno wears some great looking clothes, whereas Guy wears some dark colored clothing. The song reminds me or sounds like a crescendo, then it becomes thrilling.

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

 

In many ways. First, the direction from which each character enter the screen: Bruno always enters from the right towards the left, Guy always enters from the left towards the right. Second, the train rails crossing and connecting. Third, the way our characters meet is by crossing their feet.

 

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.

 

First, the way each character walks: Bruno's walk is more confident and gallant, while Guy's walk is more common. Bruno walks hand in pocket, with a bit of a cocky attitude, while Guy walks with more ease and banality. Then the clothes and shoes: Bruno's are more flamboyant, while Guy's are more regular, next-man clothes/shoes. Finally, by setting each character opposite each other on the train. Bruno sits more confidently with no table, while Guy appears to be more shy and introverted and quickly goes to read. Bruno is quick to start a conversation, while Guy doesn't seem that interested but is polite enough.

 

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 is very distinct, particularly in the specific moment where each character gets out of the taxi. When Bruno gets out, the score has a bit of a lustful, smooth tone, but when Guy gets out, it changes to a more playful, jovial tune. It helps to establish the differences between the characters.

 

 

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1. The single criss-cross or "X" implies a meeting and then a separation; a criss-cross pattern guarantees that this meeting and separation will continuously recur. In this opening sequence, the cross-crossing pattern is manifest in the tile floors inside the station, in the train tracks themselves, and by the seemingly accidental meeting of the two characters as they both cross their legs.

 

The rhombus, however, is a more defined shape: equal sides and opposite parallels that, when bisected, form a cross pattern. The rhombus sets up both characters as being equal yet opposite--the existence of one depending on the other. Hitchcock uses the rhombus to introduce these characters: the Diamond Cab Company logo on each door stamps each character with this symbol, which is picked up again on the tile floors inside the station. The intersection of these two characters is far from coincidental, and one will likely come to define the other as their paths continue to "cross".

 

 

2. Walker is shown as flashy through his walk and his high-contrast wardrobe--shoes, cufflinks, patterned tie, and the fantastic "Bruno" tie clip labelling him like a store front. Granger is more subdued in darker hues that blend together, with the exception of his checkered (!) tie. Walker's body language shows him as more open to conversation while Granger, sitting directly opposite, is more closed off from his surroundings by the table and with his head down reading a magazine. Although Granger accidentally initiates contact, he is politely reserved; It is Walker who invades Granger's space by moving a little too close, grabbing his hand to shake, and offering up personal details about his tie clip.

 

 

3. The film is introduced with a dramatic flourish; when we transition to the characters arriving at the train station, however, the atmosphere becomes more playful and lighthearted. The score comprises an audio "criss cross" with the rhythmic repetition of a melody identifying one character and echoed in the other, establishing their similarities. It is only when we first see the tracks, and the shadow of the train hovering over them, that the melody fuses together and becomes sombre in tone. The suspense builds the closer we get to the two characters actually meeting; when they finally do interact, the music stops completely. Taken together, the music creates an anxious atmosphere by contrasting these light and dark tones. The lack of music during the initial dialogue creates a heightened focus on an anxiety common to most audience members: that of having to politely chat with an overbearing, pushy stranger when you are on a train with no means of escape.

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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. Just as we see the train tracks criss cross a little later in the into, we see Guy and Bruno in parallel activities that will fatefully lead to their criss crossing lives. They each arrive at the train station in almost identical taxis. They are each accompanied through the same door by porters carrying their luggage. They seat themselves in such a way that there is brief physical contact when their shoes touch. And so it begins….their separate tracks have crossed and they are now headed down the same one.


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. Their shoe styles show each to be very conscious of style. Guy is classic, with understated brown shoes and cuffed pants; Bruno is flashy with white and brown shoes and striped trousers. We have a pointed view of their differences before they speak. When Bruno recognizes Guy, he gushes on in articulated fashion, revealing even more about himself (he will wear a tie clip of his name, downplaying it by sharing that it’s a gift from his mother.) Guy, who probably has been approached many times after being recognized by tennis fans, is pleasant, but more closed. He shares no details and, actually, has little opportunity as Bruno gushes information. Bruno switches to the seat beside Guy, still chatting, and when Guy indicates that he wants to read, Bruno assures that “I don’t talk much.” We already know better than that.


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 again! He was wonderful. Here we begin with a cheery, brisk score than belies the drama that will unfold only minutes into the movie.


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1. Hitchcock starts the opening sequence with the gentle arriving at the station from opposite ends, the crisscrossing of the floor tiles, entering the turnstiles from opposing ends and the crisscrossing of the train rails.

Granger Walker

2. shoes one solid 2 toned

Suit solid colored Pinstriped

Luggage. Clean Worn dirty

Walk Clean stride Snappy hand in pocket

Conservative Flashy

 

 

 

3. The music in the opening sequence is very dynamic. It reminds me of some of the opening music used in Westerns. Setting you up for something great may be about to happen. A new frontier. The music at the amusing park is festival accurately putting you in a fun mood. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the music is helping to form the mood. Trying to help place us in that setting.

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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 shot of the train crossing the tracks, the shots of both walking on the train until there feet touch.

 

 

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.  

 

We see the different shoes Bruno very stylish, Guy very everyman.  The same with the clothing Guy's clothing is dark and simple and Bruno has fancy pants. I noticed the dialogue especially when Bruno talks he is very persuasive and energetic in his voice, Guy is very monotone and relaxed. 

 

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 sets an energetic and mysterious mood .

 

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I remember watching this opening scene as part of the 2015 film noir course. Such a fascinating study! There are several ways Hitch demonstrates the metaphor of criss-crossing, including the positioning of the camera when we see each man exiting his car (on the right side for Bruno, and on the left for Guy), the alternating direction of each man's steps, the criss-crossed rails, and in Bruno crossing his legs on the train. (If it weren't so common in the day, I'd even suggest the cross dissolves during the opening credits would be a contribution to the metaphor.)

 

Guy and Bruno's differences are illustrated clearly. Whereas Guy is conservatively dressed in a sweater and basic, black shoes, Bruno prefers louder, more ostentatious clothing (his whimsical tie and tie bar, his saddle shoes, and his pinstripe suit). Guy is taciturn and prefers not to be bothered, while Bruno is talkative and brash (he takes Guy's hand with both of his hands in order to force a shake).

 

Upon rewatching the opening sequence with particular attention placed on Tiomkin's score, it seems to me that it starts off without lending itself to any specific mood. I closed my eyes and opened my ears, and at the very beginning, the score sounds sweeping and almost epic--a good fit for a classic drama or romantic film. It starts to make an impact on me during the scenes of the men getting out of their cars and the cuts of the men walking opposite each other. At these points, the music is more pointed, conveying a more looming feeling, as if something dramatic or surprising is about to unfold. And of course, there's that final note that hits just as the two men's feet touch, kicking off (no pun intended) an unlikely partnership.

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