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Number: TWILIGHT245-BR

Starring:  Suzanne Flon, Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Simon, Wolfgang Preiss, Richard Munch
Directed By:  John Frankenheimer
Composed By:  Maurice Jarre

“A vivid melodrama through which Mr. Lancaster bolts with all that straight, strong, American sporting instinct and physical agility for which he is famous…a beautiful, hissing tangle.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

“A colorful, big-scale adventure opus…it is the trains themselves and some bangup special effects of bombing attacks and accidents that give the pic its main points.”
– Variety

“A rattling good thriller…an almost hypnotic fascination.”
– Time Out London

John Frankenheimer’s cracking adventure thriller, The Train (1964), stars the one and only Burt Lancaster as a workaday World War II-era French trainman charged with ensuring that a cargo of irreplaceable French art – the pride and heritage of his nation – is not allowed to leave France, despite the machinations of a Nazi officer (the superb Paul Scofield), determined to steal these great works for Germany. Also starring Jeanne Moreau and Michel Simon, and featuring compelling black-and-white cinematography by Jean Tournier and Walter Wottitz and a thrilling score by Maurice Jarre, The Train is one of the icons of Sixties cinema.

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.66:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1964 / B&W

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo, Paul Seydor, and Nick Redman / Audio Commentary with Director John Frankenheimer / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on October 23, 2017 3:44 PM
I’ve been a fan of director John Frankenheimer for some time. The director of films like SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, THE FIXER, BLACK SUNDAY and RONIN always delivered plenty of action balanced with enough story to make the films hold your interest from start to finish. I’d recalled hearing of THE TRAIN years ago, remembered seeing it advertised when it was to be on television but never saw it until now.

In 1944 the Germans were sensing the end was near. During the war they had ransacked the museums of the countries they invaded and a large collection of art has been stockpiled. In an effort to retain the art and insure it isn’t destroyed in bombings Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) is determined to ship the treasures to Germany at any costs.

Resistance leaders in France know that the allied forces arrival is imminent and want to make sure that the art never leaves their country. With that arrival around the corner all they need to do is make sure the train never leaves the country. They set into motion a plan to make sure that this happens.

Resistance leader and an inspector for the SNCF (French National Railway Corporation) Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster) argues that it’s not worth losing the lives of his men to save a load of paintings. When an elderly engineer is executed for trying to thwart the train on his own Labiche agrees to help and a plan is set in motion to stop the train.

The movie offers more story than action here which many were expecting given the artwork found in posters for the film as well as the trailer. Even with that being the case it makes for an interesting movie, something different than most war films at that time or since. The clash of wills between the two men is classic. What is different is their motivations. Von Waldheim is the bad buy and yet cares more about the artwork than the good guy Labiche. That’s something different to mull over.

Lancaster and Frankenheimer worked together on a number of films and their pairing here works well for both of them. Lancaster is provided a vehicle that gives him the chance to flex some acting muscle as well as add enough action to satisfy his fans. Frankenheimer adds to the list of films he made that showed he was a capable director no matter what he was given.

Twilight Time released this film before but it quickly sold out. Requests were enough that they are releasing it once more in this encore edition but as is always the case it is limited to just 3,000 copies so those interested should jump before it’s gone once more. Extras include an isolated score track, an audio commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo, Paul Seydor and Nick Redman, an audio commentary with director Frankenheimer and the original theatrical trailer.

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