One of the finest spy films ever, NIGHT TRAIN reflects the immense talents of its brilliant director, Carol Reed, and of scripters Frank Launder and Sydney Gilliat. After Hitler's conquest of Czechoslovakia, Anna Bomasch (Margaret Lockwood) is arrested. Her father, Axel (James Harcourt),
who possesses technical information the Nazis want, has fled to England, but Anna is interred in a concentration camp. There, she meets Karl Marsen (Paul Henreid), with whom she manages to escape to England, and in London she contacts music hall performer Gus Bennett (Rex Harrison)--who is
actually a British secret agent--to get in touch with her father. In short order the Bomasches, duped by Marsen--who is himself a Gestapo plant--are taken to Germany, where the Nazis threaten Anna to secure Axel's cooperation. Bennett follows, infiltrates the Naval Ministry in Berlin, and
discovers that the Bomasches are on the night train to Munich. With the help of two comedic cricketers played by Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford (who performed the same service in Alfred Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES), Bennett boards the train and is able to free father and daughter, leading to
the trio's final flight to Switzerland, with Marsen and the SS in hot pursuit. Though action-packed with one harrowing scene after another, the film is not broadly played, and Reed employs subtlety over bravado. Its portrayal of the Germans, too, is fairly balanced, without the propagandistic
characterizations that would mark films made later in the war. Harrison is perfect as the daring, suave British spy; Lockwood is fine as his love interest; and Henried is appropriately subtle as the deceiving Marsen in this gripping, razor-edged melodrama that mounts to a stunning climax.
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- Review: One of the finest spy films ever, NIGHT TRAIN reflects the immense talents of its brilliant director, Carol Reed, and of scripters Frank Launder and Sydney Gilliat. After Hitler's conquest of Czechoslovakia, Anna Bomasch (Margaret Lockwood) is arrested. He… (more)
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