The title of the film is based on the song The Great Crush Collision
composed by ragtime musician Scott Joptin who recurs himself to a real
historic event from 1896 which he attended: "On Sept. 15, 1896, 50,000
people had gathered anxiously on a wide stretch of Texas prairie near Warn.
Moments later, they watched two 32-ton locomotives, each pulling seven
boxcars, collide head on at a combined speed of 120 miles per hour." The
public had gathered in Crush, a small town in Texas, which was constructed
specially for this event by the railway agent William George Crush.
Unfortunately, the happening ended tragically: When the two trains, one
coming from north, the other from south, collided, numerous spectators were
killed.The collision of the trains expresses not only Larson's fascination
of the collision and reunion of different ideas, cultures, religions and
people, but also the interest he takes in the duality of human existence in
which love and hate, good and evil, life and death, sin and remission come
This topic becomes obvious especially in the first part of the
film. Thus, Larson's intention is basically a deeply spiritual one: the
unification of the profane and the sacred, of body and soul.