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Strangers on a Train: A Queer Film Classic (2012) by Jonathan Goldberg

author Jonathan Goldberg
publisher Arsenal Pulp Press (2012)
ISBN 1551524821 (paperback)

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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.


This latest entry to the Queer Film Classic series does not disappoint. Here Goldberg 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 ... 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.
 — Library Journal