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July 30 , 2008

Strangers on a Train

A Queer Film Classic


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.
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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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