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Night Train (1959)

Pociag (original title)
A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something--and so does the strange woman with whom he must share a sleeping compartment.

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucyna Winnicka ...
Marta
Leon Niemczyk ...
Jerzy
Teresa Szmigielówna ...
Lawyer's Wife
...
Staszek
Helena Dabrowska ...
Train Controller
Ignacy Machowski ...
Passenger
Roland Glowacki ...
Murderer
Aleksander Sewruk ...
Lawyer
Zygmunt Zintel ...
Passenger Suffering from Insomnia
Tadeusz Gwiazdowski ...
Train Controller
Witold Skaruch ...
Priest
Michal Gazda ...
Passenger Flirting with Lawyer's Wife
Zygmunt Malawski ...
Policeman
Józef Lodynski ...
Plain-Clothes Policeman
Kazimierz Wilamowski ...
Passenger Sleeping in the Train Controller's Car
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Storyline

A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something--and so does the strange woman with whom he must share a sleeping compartment. Written by Mattias Thuresson

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Details

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Release Date:

6 September 1959 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Baltic Express  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Connections

Featured in The Lesson of Polish Cinema (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic Polish thriller
16 May 2012 | by (Warsaw) – See all my reviews

This is definitely one of the greatest, and at the same time, one of the most under-appreciated movies in the history of Polish cinema. Jerzy Kawalerowicz is a true master craftsman in the country's film world, and with Night Train he once again proved that this statement is perfectly true. It's a shame that the movie is sometimes cruelly omitted when talking about fine post-war cinema, because it is certainly worth a watch.

Night Train is different from other various Polish movies that came out in the 50's and later, as it doesn't present the social problems that the country had to fight with during the difficult period of Communism.

It reminds me of the movies directed by the Master of Suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, as it contains the recurring themes of murder, suspenseful mystery, the wrongly accused man and a search for the real criminal.

It also reminds me of the great noir movies produced in the United States or Italy throughout the 20th century. It possesses a deeply sombre tone and claustrophobic ambiance created by the particular scenery, in which it takes place - a train. All of this is complemented with an eerie music playing in the background.

Aboard the train, which goes from Lodz to the seaside in Poland, there are many unusual, strangely mysterious, and overly suspicious passengers. One of them is Jerzy, the main character, played brilliantly by Leon Niemczyk. Strolling around in his classy dark glasses he seems like he needs to hide from something or someone. Unfortunately, due to some peculiar circumstances, he has to share the sleeping cabin with a pretty lady, Marta. However, as time passes by, the two are starting to have a connection, because of the seemingly similar life experiences and peculiar interests.

In the neighboring compartment we can find an unnamed man with his nosy wife, who quickly starts to flirt with distracted Jerzy. She looks so unhappily married that she resolves to flirting with almost all of the co-travelers.

Then there is also Staszek, the boy, who is deeply in love with Marta, but, due to some unmentioned previous occurrences, she doesn't want to be with him any more.

All those characters' affairs intertwine at various points in the storyline. Great and clever dialogues accompany every scene. And in the middle of it all there is the tranquil search for the murderer. However, as important as it may seem sometimes, it isn't actually the main topic of Night Train.

The hunt for the killer occurs in the climax of the movie, when an angry mob runs through the train cars and into the woods to finally catch him. What happens next – the public execution (however not deadly) reminded me of the great western The Ox-Bow Incident. The will of the majority always wins, no matter if someone is legally found guilty or not.

The final scene beautifully reflects what had happened on that night - the compartments are empty, and look somehow pure, but the scattered belongings and open windows give the sequence an obscure touch.

All in all, Night Train is truly a fantastic Polish movie with many suspenseful twists, romance and a huge emphasis put on various characters' personalities, in order to show that anonymity is omnipresent and everyone can almost hide in its shadow if he wants to.


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