After a slow start, The Train picks up to become a colorful, actionful big-scale adventure opus. Made in French and English in France, it was entirely lensed in real exteriors with unlimited access to old French rolling stock of the last war.

After a slow start, The Train picks up to become a colorful, actionful big-scale adventure opus. Made in French and English in France, it was entirely lensed in real exteriors with unlimited access to old French rolling stock of the last war.

Pic [from the novel Le front de l’art by Rose Valland] concerns an elaborate railroad resistance plot to keep a train full of French art treasures from being shipped to Germany near the end of the war.

An earthy station master (Burt Lancaster), if in the resistance, is reluctant to sacrifice men for paintings, especially with the war nearing its end. But he finally gives in when an old engineer, almost his foster father, is killed by the Germans for trying to hold up the art train. An elaborate plot is put into action. Lancaster himself is made to drive the train by the fanatic German colonel (Paul Scofield) to whom the art has become bigger than the war itself.

Jeanne Moreau has a small but telling cameo bit as does Michel Simon as the dedicated old engineer who swings Lancaster into line to go all out for saving the train. But above all it is the railroad bustle, the trains themselves and some bangup special effects of bombing attacks and accidents that give the pic its main points.

1965: Best Original Story & Screenplay

The Train

US - France - Italy

Production

Artistes Associes/Ariane/Dear. Director John Frankenheimer; Producer Jules Bricken; Screenplay Franklin Coen, Frank Davis, [Walter Bernstein, Ned Young, Howard Infell]; Camera Walter Wottitz, Jean Tournier; Editor David Bretherton; Music Maurice Jarre; Art Director Willy Holt

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 140 MIN.

With

Burt Lancaster Paul Scofield Jeanne Moreau Michel Simon Suzanne Flon Wolfgang Preiss
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