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Von Ryan’s Express

Mass escape of 600 American and British prisoners-of-war across 1943 Nazi-controlled Italy lends colorful backing to this fast, suspenseful and exciting Second World War tale. Mark Robson has made realistic use of the actual Italian setting of the David Westheimer novel in garmenting his action in hard-hitting direction and sharply-drawn performances.

Mass escape of 600 American and British prisoners-of-war across 1943 Nazi-controlled Italy lends colorful backing to this fast, suspenseful and exciting Second World War tale. Mark Robson has made realistic use of the actual Italian setting of the David Westheimer novel in garmenting his action in hard-hitting direction and sharply-drawn performances.

Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard co-star as leaders of the escape, who, under former’s initiative, seize a freight train which is bearing prisoners for delivery to the Germans in Austria and divert it across northern Italy in an attempt to find haven in Switzerland. Sinatra plays a hardboiled American Air Force colonel named Ryan, shot down by Italians and imprisoned in the camp where Howard, an equally tough British major, is senior officer.

Robson depends heavily on suspense and accompanying thrills after Sinatra and Howard take over the train.

1965: Nomination: Best Sound Effects

Von Ryan’s Express

  • Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Mark Robson; Producer Saul David; Screenplay Wendell Mayes, Joseph Landon; Camera William H. Daniels; Editor Dorothy Spencer; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director Jack Martin Smith, Hilyard Brown
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 114 MIN.
  • With: Frank Sinatra Trevor Howard Raffaella Carra Brad Dexter Sergio Fantoni John Leyton