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The Train (1965)

Cast: Burt Lancaster, Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, more...
Director: John Frankenheimer, John Frankenheimer
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: MGM
Genre: Classics, Classic Action/Adventure, War, WWII
Running Time: 133 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

John Frankenheimer directs Burt Lancaster in the tense spy thriller The Train. Lancaster plays Labiche, a French railway inspector. Allied forces are threatening to liberate Paris, so Col. Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) is ordered to move the priceless works of art from the Jeu de Paume Museum to the fatherland. The head of the museum (Suzanne Flon) attempts to convince Labiche that he should sabotage the train on which they are transporting the art. Labiche is more focused on destroying a trainload of German weapons. After his friend is killed trying to stop the train with the art, and after a consciousness-raising conversation with a hotel owner (Jeanne Moreau), Labiche resolves to save the antiquities. Lancaster and Frankenheimer had worked together previously on both Birdman of Alcatraz and Seven Days in May. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Commentary by Director John Frankenheimer
  • Music-only track highlighting Maurice Jarre's Score
  • Theatrical Trailer

GreenCine Staff Pick, July 19, 2005: John Frankenheimer is probably most renowned for the original Manchurian Candidate but his long filmography is filled with other terrific thrillers, and 1965's WWII actioner The Train shows the director at the peak of his craft. The film is set in 1944, as Paris is about to be liberated and the Germans are in panic mode while fleeing: a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send back to Germany, and the Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo. Burt Lancaster plays a French (he makes almost no effort to act French so you have to go with it) railway inspector more concerned with destroying German weapons than saving a pile of paintings, but who slowly begins to understand, with some convincing from a young Jeanne Moreau among other local citizenry, their importance to France's cultural heritage (which, the film reveals, must sometimes be weighed against the value of human life). But where The Train really excels is the action elements, building like a slow burning fuse on a stick of dynamite towards the pulse-pounding second half. That it looks meticulously authentic - it was shot on location in France, using real trains - further adds to the tension, especially in an awe-inspiring collision sequence. And the intelligent plotting which goes beyond the usual "cat and mouse," involving the hero's problem-solving abilities using the train system as a giant chessboard, refuses to pander to the audience. They don't make 'em like this any more. -- Craig Phillips

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.62)
39 Votes
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