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A group of Confederate prisoners escape to Canada and plan to rob the banks and set fire to the small town of Saint Albans in Vermont. To get the lie of the land, their leader spends a few days in the town and finds he is getting drawn into its life and especially into that of an attractive widow and her son. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
When Major Benton gets off the train the first time, the sound of air brakes is clearly heard. However, the Westinghouse air brake was not invented until 1869, five years after the action in the movie occurred. See more »
A good film that moves along at a pleasing rate, helped by a good cast, including a young Lee Marvin, an equally-young Richard Boone before his face became lined (but he still plays a troubled person) and the distinctive John Dierkes (the "Gaunt Man" in "The Red Badge of Courage").
This film pairs with another, "The Siege at Red River". Both feature a Southern officer working undercover in Northern territory, both feature Boone, and both stars have the first name Van. But compared with Johnson in TSARR, Heflin's conscience is only slightly troubled by the consequences of his actions; indeed a web search for "St Albans 1864" suggests that "The Raid" greatly magnifies the arson Heflin's men cause with "Greek Fire" - apparently only one shed was actually burnt down. (This contrasts with the way the film "Quantrill's Raiders" greatly underplays the notorious attack on Lawrence.) Also, it would seem, in fact the raiders dropped a lot of the money from the banks.
My only slight criticism was that already voiced by other commentators
the smartness of the Confederate uniforms. On the plus side, the film
avoids instant romance between Heflin and Bancroft (though they're obviously attracted to each other) and there's no mawkish bonding between the former and Bancroft's son.
Not that well-known a film, but well worth watching.
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