Media Texts: Strangers on a Train.

Cinema Poster of Strangers on a TrainThe plot leading up to the final scene: Two high society men meet on a train Guy and Bruno , they become acquainted over a few drinks then over a meal explain the situation. One being divorce and the other focusing character has an unusual hatred of his father.

Bruno proposes murdering Guy’s wife so he can marry the senators daughter, so Guy refuses and the train journey ends. The scene then cuts to Guy approaching Merriam (single note of a piano portrays the situation in B flat) at her work where he gives money to her as arranged for a presumed divorce. She refuses to divorce him which ends up in a scuffle in the open room of Miriam’s work. Guy is then contacted by Bruno back in Washington over the phone. Bruno is raging with his father having been interrupted talking to his mother about plots of blowing up the White House and mothers understanding of her slightly warped minded son.

Bruno tracks down Merriam and follows her through the fair, winning a prize on the strength bell. He continues to follow her through the tunnel of Love, where she is accompanied with two other men. Then Merriam walks out into the woods opposite the river alone. Bruno see’s his chance asks her name then strangles her, on leaving he is spotted by the boat attendant. Later we discover Bruno had kept Guy’s lighter with the tennis signature to plant at the scene of the crime. Bruno contacts Guy about murdering his wife and tells him of the gun that he must use to kill his father.

Guy refuses and goes to the police. The police need more evidence and almost suspect Guy of murder. By watching the film on the big screen at the lecture a few weeks later watched this Warner Brothers production. This time on DVD in Ladbroke house library. With headphones and pen/paper began to take key notes from the film and repeatedly watched the six minute clip.

I chose the final scene in the film because it summarises many key factors of Hollywood forbidding thriller films. This illusion of making something beautiful and entertaining, altering the audiences perception through Diegesis (the entire world which action takes place). We always perceive things through these two male starring roles.

The film also utilises the non-diegetic notion of altering “the Strawberry Girl” murder musical soundtrack. Almost dispelling any signified myths (et al: Levi Strauss) scary whilst being humoured at the same time: The merry-go-round and it’s ornamental danger.

The archetype male battle (Montage) is no longer intellectual but a battle of strength at the end. The outside battle then ends and then it’s back to the safety of indoors.

The binary opposites of good and bad are not really clear throughout the film however during this scene the characters and the camera shots plus the sound track all add to the suspense of seeing good prevail. Bruno is definitely the bad guy but Guy respects him.

Through looking closer early on of the camera angles and the shadows projected upon Bruno we know he’s bad but his intonation and humour are all likeable.

The lighting casts bars, shadow’s representing jail to the crooked angles and camera shot’s from the left all suggest something sinister.

Guy on the other hand is a tennis player stereotypically, he’s good but psychologically he’s emotional and naive. With the mention of his women he react’s defensively that leads to mistakes like loosing his lighter and opening up to Bruno the intelligent manipulator.

My cinematographic technique of the six minute scene 131 minutes into the film.

The camera panning the width of the carousel ride. It sways with the speed from left to right were already acquainted with the surrounding set. Emphasising on the entire mechanism of the fun wheel making it appear foreboding and dangerous, straining under it uncontrolled mechanism.

A cliff hanger idea that although a ride has some guarantee’s nothing is really certain. The smoke filmed lens fades out this focusing on the broken ride The tracking appears solid.

Then it dissolves back to the shot of the fighting when alongside a happy smiling boy with his school boy cap and typical short pelisse pants and high socks bobbing upon a white horse enjoying the ride, observes the action.

This scene almost appears rushed almost trying conform into the time limits of a typical Hollywood film. But the boys mother’s scream echo’s long and loud in-between the speeded up murder soundtrack “Marry the girl with the Strawberry girl and the band played on” but this time without the lyrics and racing faster and faster.

Then simply adding to the humour the old man who’s false teeth appear missing shout’s to the police “I will crawl below and switch of the machine”. Such as Hollywood these now ‘keystone Cops’ agree so under he goes.

So now below we see the old man above the fight, the dysfunctional machine and the risk of a boys life everyone in danger.

Whilst the mother to the right screams and to the left the police in there throes stand helpless.

The scene then zooms in to the floor of the wheel, Bruno and guy handling each other by the scruff of each others necks Bruno appears to have the advantage because the hooves of the mannequin horses pound the ground with what appears to be Guy’s head below.

The punches echoed over the sound track as indeed the crunching down of the hooves adds to the art and is a key scene that portrays the contraption as a weapon emphasised by the power behind it many pistons pumping under the strain of spinning the wheel.

Mixing the lives of two men together as in the whole plot of swapping murders, trying to get away with murder.

The old man scene of heroics is speeded up the scene of him reaching the centre and pulling the switch with the music changing the two stars seem fairly matched, tired but both alive.

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