The Last Train From Madrid

  • 1937
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama, War

This was the first Hollywood production dealing with the controversial Spanish Civil War, then much in the headlines and debated hotly across the nation as the bloody testing ground between democracy and fascism. Yet the film makes little political comment, dealing instead with a group of refugees fleeing war-ravaged Madrid (then in the hands of the Loyalists)....read more

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This was the first Hollywood production dealing with the controversial Spanish Civil War, then much in the headlines and debated hotly across the nation as the bloody testing ground between democracy and fascism. Yet the film makes little political comment, dealing instead with a group of

refugees fleeing war-ravaged Madrid (then in the hands of the Loyalists). The impressive cast and solid story line, fragmented into the lives of the passengers on the train, make this one enjoyable and often exciting, even though it's really little more than GRAND HOTEL on wheels. The passengers

include army deserter Cummings, wealthy baroness Morley, prostitute Mack, Ayres, a cynical newsman, and Bradna, an orphan who is attached to him. The main story concerns Lamour, who is Roland's ex-girl friend but who is now friendly with Quinn, the officer charged by commander Atwill to see that

the train gets safely away to Valencia. Roland is an ex-army man, now a political fugitive who falls out with old friend Quinn over Lamour's affections. In the end, he is allowed to stay on the train, reuniting with Lamour, thanks to Quinn. When Atwill learns that Roland is one of the passengers,

he orders Quinn to take Roland off and shoot him. But Quinn, for Lamour's sake, holds Atwill at gunpoint until the train is safely away. Quinn is later captured and shot for his insubordination. Temperamental Roland insisted during this production that all other male actors shave their mustaches

so that he would be the only actor wearing one and thereby be distinctive. Future superstar Alan Ladd can be seen fleetingly as a trooper, as can famed director Cecil B. DeMille, who has a walk-through part, a good luck gesture toward his new son-in-law, Quinn, who had married DeMille's adopted

daughter, Katherine. During this production all the makeup and hairdressing personnel went on strike and the actors had to fend for themselves, a hardship on actresses such as Lamour, who later admitted in her autobiography, My Side of the Road: ". . . after doing it all myself I had new respect

for those artists who never appear on camera and whose work comes off with cold cream at the end of the day."

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This was the first Hollywood production dealing with the controversial Spanish Civil War, then much in the headlines and debated hotly across the nation as the bloody testing ground between democracy and fascism. Yet the film makes little political comment… (more)

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