Throw Momma from the Train

Throw Momma from the Train

5.0 2

Cast: Billy Crystal, Anne Ramsey, Kim Greist

     
 

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The "exchange murders" plot gambit, played with utter solemnity in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, is used as the launching pad for raucous laughter in Throw Momma From the Train. Director/star Danny DeVito plays Owen Lift, a middle-aged bachelor, totally dominated by his gorgon mother, played with hilarious ferocity by Anne Ramsey. Billy Crystal

Overview

The "exchange murders" plot gambit, played with utter solemnity in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, is used as the launching pad for raucous laughter in Throw Momma From the Train. Director/star Danny DeVito plays Owen Lift, a middle-aged bachelor, totally dominated by his gorgon mother, played with hilarious ferocity by Anne Ramsey. Billy Crystal co-stars as Larry Donner, a creative-writing professor, saddled with a vituperative, thoroughly despicable ex-wife, Margaret (Kate Mulgrew). Signing up for Larry's writing course, Owen has trouble at first with character development and construction in his stories. Larry recommends that Owen watch a screening of Strangers on a Train, which he considered a model of tight, concise storytelling. Owen is so entranced by the film that he decides to emulate Strangers star Robert Walker. That is, Owen wants Larry to bump off his mother, in exchange for Owen's murder of Margaret. Without being asked, Owen does away with Margaret (or so it seems), then hounds Larry to the point of killing "Momma." This being a comedy, the actual consequences of the swap-murder plot aren't nearly as calamitous as in the Hitchcock film. Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld would apply the "black humor" lessons learned in Throw Momma From the Train for his own directorial debut, The Addams Family (1991).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Director Danny DeVito guides this black comedy with a demented oddball vision and also turns in a magnificently eccentric performance as the diminutive schnook, Owen. The film itself is a sickly hilarious Keystone capers-style comedy punctuated by some great acting and dialogue. Billy Crystal gives a nice performance in the lead, but it is the late Anne Ramsey as the ghoulish Momma who makes your skin crawl even as you howl with laughter. The story borrows its favor-for-a-favor murder premise from Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, and then spins it into a slapstick riot. Filled with great gags and such classic knee-slapping one-liners as (when DeVito is trying to persuade Crystal to kill Momma) "Well, at least meet her, maybe she'd be someone you'd like to kill." This is well-written, funny stuff, making this film one of the better comedies of the late 20th century.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/07/2012
UPC:
0883904239062
Original Release:
1987
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
33,167

Special Features

Crafting a Dark Comedy; Why Do You Hate Your Mother?; The Night Was...; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny DeVito Owen Lift
Billy Crystal Larry Donner
Anne Ramsey Momma
Kim Greist Beth
Kate Mulgrew Margaret, Larry's Ex-Wife
Branford Marsalis Lester
Annie Ross Mrs. Hazeltine
Rob Reiner Joel
Bruce Kirby Detective DeBenedetto
Oprah Winfrey Herself
Joey de Pinto Sergeant
Raye Birk Pinsky
Olivia Brown Ms. Gladstone
Philip Perlman Mr. Perlman
Stu Silver Ramon
Randall Miller Bucky
Andre Rosey Brown Rosey
Larry McCormick Announcer
Peter Brocco Old Man
Hettie Lynne Hurtes Reporter

Technical Credits
Danny DeVito Director
Larry Brezner Producer
Ken Chase Makeup
William Elliott Art Director
M. Todd Henry Camera Operator
Michael Jablow Editor
Kristine Johnson Co-producer
Anne McCulley Set Decoration/Design
Joe Napolitano Asst. Director
Charles James Newirth Production Manager
David Newman Score Composer
Ida Random Production Designer
Robert R. Rutledge Sound/Sound Designer
Arne Schmidt Executive Producer
Stu Silver Screenwriter
Barry Sonnenfeld Cinematographer
Marilyn Vance Costumes/Costume Designer

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Throw Momma from the Train 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Shula More than 1 year ago
Highly entertaining, one of those outrageously ridiculous and original plots that actually works well, great performances by all, interesting to see Kate Mulgrew playing the role of the ex-wife (a new one for her)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago