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strangers on a train.docx

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Barry Grant

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The Illusions of…2 The movie Strangers on a Train was directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. He uses many different types of camera angles, shades and shapes to express himself through the art of film. These are seen throughout the film to help develop our idea of the characters and are used to change and develop a more dramatic scene. The theme of guilt and innocence also comes into the light and how they play off of each other as the main male characters represent each other‟s alter ego. Ultimately wanting the same things in life, for the people who cause them the most stress to be gone and done with. Strangers on a Train does not follow the classical paradigm set out by Hollywood although using the cause and effect relationship where an action made by one character forces the others to react. It does not have a conclusive ending or have a protagonist that we, the audience could relate to or feel sympathy for; rather it follows a more auteur theory type of film. Where Hitchcock was granted more credit for his work then other directors and cinematographers at the time the film was made. He follows his own style and likes to play off of the idea of the „doppelganger effect/theme‟ which is supported with parallels found throughout the film. Hitchcock is famous for using the parallels of this film for pointing out the duality of man and the dark inside all of us. He does this by an effect called criss-cross or „X‟ imagery - which is shown throughout the entire film-where the protagonist and the antagonist lead parallel lives, almost mirroring or doubling each other if you will. Comparable in the opening scene before Bruno Antony introduces himself to Guy Haines, sitting across from each other on the train it almost looks like a mirror image to suggest the representation of them mentally being one in the same. Referring back to the criss-cross imagery it plays a big role in how these two characters meet, interact, and fall out. During the first scene where interaction between Guy and Bruno The Illusions of…3 takes place we are shown an image of the train tracks which is the route that out characters are one, that look similar to the aforementioned criss-crossed „X‟s‟. This later helps us see the symbolic reference; as the trains shadows over take the tracks it furthers what Bruno ends up doing to Guy, by taking over his sense of calm and sanity with guilt. This „X‟ or „criss-cross‟ is shown and portrayed before these two men even meet with the use of cross-cutting editing where it jumps from shot to shot only seeing their legs and feet in order to create to illusion that they are walking towards each other. From these shots we see the shoes upon their feet; one pair is all black while the other is white and black. With white and black usually symbolizing good and evil this sets up what we later find out to be the whole reason why under every working man, there lies a little evil inside. Contrary to what these men are doing, they have no idea that when they are boarding the train is when their paths cross, thus creating another image of an „X‟. Finally when Bruno and Guy are in the same train cabin they meet, with their feet criss-crossing each other and bumping into to one another. From here the two men part take in small conversation where they introduce themselves. At first glance when seeing the interaction taking place between the of them it may seem like a common thought to think of Bruno as a journalist the way he knows so much about Guy, but in real he just reads the papers so he says “…heck I even know stuff about people I don‟t even know.” Upon Bruno knowing almost everything going on in Guys personal and social life, he tends to sit very close to Guy ignoring any possible perso
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