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Throw Momma from the Train (Orion 1987, Billy Crystal, Danny DeVito)

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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).

production details
USA | Orion Pictures | 88 minutes | 1987
Director: Danny DeVito
Script: Stu Silver,

cast
Rob Reiner as Joel
Kate Mulgrew as Margaret
Olivia Brown as Ms. Gladstone
Raye Birk as Pinsky
Andre Rosey Brown as Rosey
Danny DeVito as Owen / Ned ‘Little Ned’ Lift
Billy Crystal as Larry Donner
Kim Greist as Beth Ryan
Anne Ramsey as Mrs. Lift
Branford Marsalis as Lester
Bruce Kirby as DeBenedetto
Joey DePinto as Sargeant
Annabelle Logan as Mrs. Hazeltine
Oprah Winfrey as Herself
Philip Perlman as Mr. Perlman
Stu Silver as Ramon
J. Alan Thomas as Millington
Randall Miller as Bucky
Tony Ciccone as Mr. Lopez
Larry McCormick as Announcer
Peter Brocco as Old Man
Hettie Lynne Hurtes as Reporter

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