Figures of Style in Strangers on a Train

  • Peter J. Dellolio


PARALLELISM AND PROGNOSTICATION: FIGURE OF STYLE IN STRANGERS ON A TRAIN     "I certainly admire people who do things!"               Bruno Anthony to Guy HainesSTRANGERS on a Train is a parable about a wish fulfilment fantasy overtaking reality by means of metaphysical freedom, opposing energies, and deadly consequences. The film suggests that dangerous moral, ethical, and material forces are unleashed when conscious behaviour and subconscious wishes are in conflict. The narrative and stylistic organization of the film (based on the notion of inner-directed elements controlling the objective world) bears a general similarity to some of the precepts of Expressionism. The essential expressionist credo is that stylistic exaggerations and manipulations are commensurate with a protagonist's extraordinary anxiety and inner conflicts. For example, shortly after Miriam's (Laura Elliot) murder, there is a medium long-shot of Guy's (Farley Granger) cab pulling up to his apartment building with the bright...