> Now, please, what is the 'obvious' sexual symbol in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN > when Miriam's strangling is reflected in a lens of her glasses lying on > the grass (the other lens has been cracked)? I'd love to know! My mind > simply goes 'boingg!' when Wood says the symbolism is obvious. Is the > lens supposed to represent spilt semen, or something? (But semen isn't > reflective.) A ruptured hymen? (But that sounds far-fetched to me.) > The equivalent of birds attacking people's eyes in THE BIRDS? (Ditto.) Thanks to Mike Frank, Jason Lapeyre, Don Larsson, et al., for their attempts to answer my question above. Mike and Jason essayed Lacanian-type explanations (e.g., 'Wood was probably referring to the Hollywood convention of eyeglasses denoting the power of the "look" ...'), while Don noted that 'there are more blatant, pre-Lacanian Freudian meanings connected with eyes and glasses' - of which I'm reasonably well aware. The eye can represent the female genitalia, for example. (I went into the permutations and variants of this basic idea when I analysed Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND in a 24-page article in 'MacGuffin' 15 - whose main point of departure was an earlier analysis by Robin Wood's protege, the late Andrew Britton.) I would have to rather discount Mike's and Jason's explanations, though, since Wood's essay on STRANGERS ON A TRAIN appeared in the original, 1966 edition of 'Hitchcock's Films' - well before Lacan had 'caught on' and Laura Mulvey had written her seminal 1975 piece on 'visual pleasure' for 'Screen'. And I don't find particularly helpful here the simple equation, eyes (represented by glasses) = the female sexual organ. In short, I don't believe that the broken glasses reflecting Miriam's strangulation are an 'obvious' sexual symbol at all! Wood was 'bluffing'! (He has owned up to some other bluffing in that first edition of his book: e.g., criticising Daphne du Maurier's 'novelettish' 'Rebecca' when in fact he had never read it!) Symbolism, not least Hitchcock's, must be interpreted in context and in situ - and invariably in Hitchcock's case in full response to its particular details. Those glasses reflect a murder that takes place, as I recall, on the fairground's 'island of love', and show Miriam's body being lowered to the ground as into a dark pool (the lens). So basically the image dramatically records Miriam's final loss of consciousness and the ironic death of this promiscuous, rather narcissistic and unlikeable woman. In turn, such images of darkness run through the film in counterpoint to their opposite, images of bright, open spaces (e.g., tennis courts). Which isn't to say that one image isn't the obverse of the other, to which it can flip over at any moment. (Miriam's husband, professional tennis-player Guy, has his 'dark side' ...) - Ken Mogg (Ed., 'The MacGuffin'). http://www.labyrinth.net.au/~muffin ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.