Based on fact, the story [from the novel by Michael Crichton] concerns the first recorded heist from a moving train. Suave arch-criminal Sean Connery enlists Donald Sutherland, Wayne Sleep, in a bid to lift a payroll of gold bars destined for the Crimea in 1855. A vital part, or rather series of parts, in the plan is played by Lesley-Anne Down as Connery's versatile yet reliable mistress.
Based on fact, the story [from the novel by Michael Crichton] concerns the first recorded heist from a moving train. Suave arch-criminal Sean Connery enlists Donald Sutherland, Wayne Sleep, in a bid to lift a payroll of gold bars destined for the Crimea in 1855. A vital part, or rather series of parts, in the plan is played by Lesley-Anne Down as Connery’s versatile yet reliable mistress.
The actual theft is ingenious. The film’s highpoint comes when Connery clambers from car roof to car roof as the steam train speeds smokily under low bridges.
Crichton’s films drag in dialog bouts, but triumph when action takes over.
Handling of the train sequences by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth is a lesson in the superior effectiveness of a well-placed camera over fancy tricks. A final caption dedicates the film to his memory, stating: ‘His friends miss him.’ So will his audiences.
The First Great Train Robbery
United Artists/De Laurentiis. Director Michael Crichton; Producer John Foreman; Screenplay Michael Crichton; Camera Geoffrey Unsworth; Editor David Bretherton; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director Maurice Carter
(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1979. Running time: 110 MIN.
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