An obvious yet very effective theme in Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train is that of “criss-cross” and doubles. The list could be endless with mentions of double crossing, and criss-crossing, however each example is very effective and important to the film. One double that truly sticks out is that of Bruno and Guy. “Doubled” together in the film, they constantly are double crossing each other, and yet are completely opposite personalities shown in the film. One could argue that this is shown in the very opening sequence as two pairs of feet approach in the train, and soon “cross” each other (or bump in to each-other) which is lead to the meeting of Guy and Bruno. When leaving the train, after discussing the “perfect murder”, Bruno himself mentions this theme as he is talking with Guy. Bruno explains his idea and then says “For example, your wife, my father. Criss-cross.”
Even in the editing of the film, there are constant cross-cutting sequences and simultaneous actions of Bruno and Guy. An example of this would be during Guy’s tennis match and the continuous cutting between the match and Bruno trying to get the lighter out of the gutter.
The McGuffin of the film is the lighter, as any viewer would point out, however what many may not realize is that the lighter itself is double crossed, with the tennis rackets crossing eachother into an “X”. The idea of “swapping murders” could constitute as an element to the criss-crossing in the film as well. Although the criss-cross element is very obvious in this film, I believe Hitchcock plays with it very well, and creates a very exciting story for the viewers.
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