In Throw Momma from the Train, a loose, darkly comic updating of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Danny DeVito directs a tale filled with farce and pathos. He also stars, as Owen, a middle-aged bachelor dominated by a mother from hell (Anne Ramsey, in an Oscar-nominated turn).
Desperate to escape, he convinces himself that his writing teacher Larry (Billy Crystal) has agreed to swap” murders with him; he kills Larry’s hated ex-wife and expects the favor to be returned. DeVito’s nuanced portrayal elicits sympathy, while Crystal delivers the slapstick.”
Throw Momma From the Train was the acting debut of jazz tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis. He has since appeared as both actor and musician in several Spike Lee films, including School Daze (1988) to Malcolm X (1992).
Cast: Billy Crystal, Danny DeVito, Kim Greist, Kate Mulgrew, Anne Ramsey
Director: Danny DeVito
Producer: Larry Brezner
Director of Photography: Barry Sonnenfeld
Editor: Michael Jablow
Composer: David Newman
Screenwriter: Stu Silver
USA / Orion Pictures / 88 minutes / 1987