Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic

Overview

Alfred Hitchcock's 1951 thriller based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr. Ripley) is about two men who meet on a train: one is a man of high social standing who wishes to divorce his unfaithful wife; the other is an enigmatic bachelor with an overbearing father. Together they enter into a murder plot that binds them to one another, with fatal consequences.

This Queer Film Classic delves into the homoerotic energy of the film, ...

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Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic

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Overview

Alfred Hitchcock's 1951 thriller based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr. Ripley) is about two men who meet on a train: one is a man of high social standing who wishes to divorce his unfaithful wife; the other is an enigmatic bachelor with an overbearing father. Together they enter into a murder plot that binds them to one another, with fatal consequences.

This Queer Film Classic delves into the homoerotic energy of the film, especially between the two male characters (played by Farley Granger and Robert Walker). It builds on the question of the sexuality the film puts on view, not to ask whether either character is gay so much as to explore the queer relations between sexuality and murder and the strong antisocial impulses those relations represent. The book also includes a look at the making of the film and the critical controversies over Hitchcock's representations of male homosexuality.

QUEER FILM CLASSICS is a critically acclaimed film book series that launched in 2009. It features twenty-one of the most important and influential films about and/or by LGBTQ people, made in eight different countries between 1950 and 2005, and written by leading LGBTQ film scholars and critics.

Jonathan Goldberg is a professor at Emory University, where he directs the Studies in Sexualities program. He is the author of many books and editor of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's posthumous 2012 book The Weather in Proust.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Hitchcock's 1951 thriller, loosely based on the Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, has long held mainstream appeal as an exploration of the director's favorite theme: the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary people. The film has also endured because of its more than ample subtext, and this latest entry to the "Queer Film Classic" series does not disappoint. Here Goldberg (sexuality, Emory Univ.; Reclaiming Sodom) offers a compelling, scholarly look at the production of the film, critical (queer and otherwise) analyses, and the theme of "double-ness" and its (according to Truffaut) obsession with the number two. These queer readings of Strangers on a Train talk more about the film's homoerotic energy, especially in its two male leads, and visual sexuality, and less about who "is gay" or not. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of Hitchcock, Highsmith, critical analysis, and film studies. Engaging and readable, this work—with all its light and intrigue—will make any reader want to pick up the DVD too.—Benjamin Malczewski, Toledo-Lucas Cty. P.L., OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551524825
  • Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Series: Queer Film Classics Series
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,484,030
  • Product dimensions: 4.80 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Goldberg: Jonathan Goldberg is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of English at Emory University where he has directed the Studies in Sexualities Program since 2008. He is the author of a number of books in early modern studies, many of which focus on questions of gender, sexuality, and materiality, including Writing Matter, Sodometries, Desiring Women Writing, Tempest in the Caribbean, and The Seeds of Things. He recently edited Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s The Weather in Proust.

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