The Train

  • 1965
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Thriller, War

A superior WWII film that provides plenty of edge-of-the-seat thrills, THE TRAIN also poses a rather serious philosophical question: is the preservation of art worth a human life? Set in France in the summer of 1944, with the Germans in retreat, the film begins as a German colonel, von Waldheim (Paul Scofield), is ordered to transport the collection of...read more

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A superior WWII film that provides plenty of edge-of-the-seat thrills, THE TRAIN also poses a rather serious philosophical question: is the preservation of art worth a human life? Set in France in the summer of 1944, with the Germans in retreat, the film begins as a German colonel, von

Waldheim (Paul Scofield), is ordered to transport the collection of the Jeu de Paume Museum--including numerous masterpieces--by train to the Fatherland. The curator of the museum gets word of the plan to the Resistance, and they persuade Labiche (Burt Lancaster), a railway inspector, to try to

save the priceless works of art. THE TRAIN was originally to have been helmed by Arthur Penn, but during the first two weeks of shooting the director had some severe disagreements with Lancaster and producer Jules Bricken and left the production. Lancaster then called in John Frankenheimer, whom

he had just worked with on SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (they had also collaborated on THE YOUNG SAVAGES and THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ). The film was shot entirely on location in France, and Frankenheimer employed a number of cameras shooting simultaneously so that the action with the trains would be captured

from several different angles with as few takes as possible. His camera placement perfectly captures the massive trains (no models or miniatures were used) from every conceivable perspective, and their movement is directly contrasted with the chess game played by Labiche and von Waldheim. The

acting in the film is superb, with Scofield taking top honors as the obsessed German colonel, though veteran French character actor Michel Simon nearly steals the film as a determined old engineer.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A superior WWII film that provides plenty of edge-of-the-seat thrills, THE TRAIN also poses a rather serious philosophical question: is the preservation of art worth a human life? Set in France in the summer of 1944, with the Germans in retreat, the film b… (more)

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