The Many Criss-Crosses of Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train Poster

The plot of Alfred Hitchock’s Strangers on a Train hinges on the idea of two people swapping murders, a “criss-cross.”  However, the whole “criss-cross” theme doesn’t just apply to the story, it’s also constantly echoed in the sets, costumes, and props.

You can see it in train tracks...

You can see it in train tracks…

SOAT_Walls

…on walls…

...on bookshelves....

…on bookshelves….

...on fences (also in the strings of the tennis rackets)....

…on fences (also in the strings of the tennis rackets)….

...in the tennis nets...

…on tennis nets…

...on windows...

…on windows…

...on the bedding...

…on bedding…

...in hat netting...

…in hat netting…

...and in shirt necklines.

…and in the necklines of shirts.

Several characters can be seen wearing clothing with plaid prints.

Several characters are seen wearing shirts and jackets with plaid prints.

SOAT_Tennis Rackets

Guy’s lighter and jacket both feature criss-crossed tennis rackets.

When Guy first meets Bruno on the train, he's wearing a tie with a criss-crossed pattern.

When Guy first meets Bruno on the train, he’s wearing a tie with a criss-crossed pattern.

8 comments

  1. Knowing that Hitchcock was probably the most deliberate director to ever make films, I find your observation absolutely plausible and well-worth considering with not only this film, but the way patterns work in his other films. In fact, if I am not mistaken spirals play heavily into Vertigo as well.

    1. I agree, considering how often the criss-cross motif showed up in the movie, I definitely think it was deliberate. It would just be way too much of a coincidence for it not to be.

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