Entertainment

Strangers On A Train - Queer Film Classic

by Ken Tasho
Contributor
Friday Dec 7, 2012
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With a sudden re-interest in the films of suspense director Alfred Hitchcock, now seems to be the perfect time to reexamine one of his most homoerotic thrillers. Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic offers the true tale of why the gay subplot was removed from the final film product, along with a look at Hitchcock’s homophobia when dealing with male sexuality.

It’s been a mere two months since the film’s Blu-ray release and here is its somewhat companion piece. Jonathan Goldberg delves into many of the film’s queer scenes, from Farley Granger and Robert Walker’s infamous racy dialogue, to the scenes featuring the fey character of Bruno and his relationship with his mother.

The casting of Pat Hitchcock in a small role as Barbara (a character that doesn’t appear in the book) is looked at here and Goldberg shows how she became a gay icon. The topic of misogyny, always a common theme in any Hitchcock film, is examined in "Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic." Bruno coldheartedly kills the character of Miriam perhaps out of his hatred for women.

A look at the vast differences between the book "Strangers on a Train" and the final movie version show that Hollywood just wasn’t ready for an all-out queer film in 1951. Part of that blame rests on Hitchcock’s shoulders and his unwillingness to take on the Hollywood censors. Goldberg finds many essays and citations supporting the claim of Hitchcock’s homophobia.

Goldberg wisely discusses the correlation of male homosexuality and murder in one of the first films to do so. Does Bruno murder because he is gay, or because he wants Guy (Granger) so badly? "Strangers on a Train" the film could have unintentionally influenced later gay murderer movies such as "Cruising" and "Basic Instinct".

"Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic" is part of Arsenal Pulp Press’ book series "Queer Film Classics", a look at LGBTQ films that so far covers 21 of them. If you’re a fan of Hitchcock’s classic film, this book is an intelligent must-have.


"Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic"
Jonathan Goldberg
Arsenal Pulp Press
$14.95

Ken Tasho is a Corporate Drone by day and Edge Contributor by night. He has a love for all things ’80’s and resides in the Wayland Square area of Providence, RI...but would much rather be sharing an apartment in NYC with ’80’s rock goddesses Pat Benatar and Deborah Harry.

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