Features and Columns · Movies

An Ode to the Texas Switch: One of Cinema’s Sneakiest Stunts

Ah yes, the old bait and texas switch.
Texas Switch Stunt Beyond The Pines
By  · Published on May 14th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay about the powerful, sneaky stunt known as the “texas switch.”

Look, not all actors can be Tom Cruise. And even the ones who could be Tom Cruise are going to have a hell of a time convincing a studio to insure them to do the kind of things that Tom Cruise does. But hey: this is why stunt doubles exist. So the question is: how do you hide the presence of a stunt double?

This brings us to the “texas switch”: a stunt that requires the coordination of three things to dupe the audience: stunt work, purposeful staging, and precise cinematography. Also known as the “cowboy switch,” the stunt involves an “invisible” switcheroo between an actor and their stunt double while the camera is still rolling. Usually, the actor will vanish out of frame or pass behind something, only for their stunt double to emerge for the daring feat at hand. The reverse, obviously, is also doable.

There is safety in editing; in simply cutting between actors and their stunt doubles rather than swapping them out within the same shot. But cuts can be jarring and tip audiences off to the bait-and-switch gambit. And sometimes, a texas switch just does the job better.

Texas switches aren’t hard to find if you know what you’re looking for. So, in the interest of getting better at spotting (and appreciating) them, here’s a video essay that breaks down everything you’d ever want to know about the texas switch:

Watch “The Coolest Stunt You’ve Never Heard Of“:

Who made this?

Entertain the Elk is a video essay channel that focuses on breaking down film, television, and everything in between. They are based in Pasadena, California. You can follow them on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

More Videos Like This

Related Topics: ,

Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.