Sei persone viaggiano in un vagone-letto da Marsiglia a Parigi. All'arrivo, un donna viene trovata morta nella sua cuccetta. La polizia si mette alla ricerca delle altre persone, ... See full summary »
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Sei persone viaggiano in un vagone-letto da Marsiglia a Parigi. All'arrivo, un donna viene trovata morta nella sua cuccetta. La polizia si mette alla ricerca delle altre persone, sospettando possa essere stato uno degli altri cinque passeggeri a commettere l'omicidio, ma questi sono uccisi uno ad uno. Gli ultimi due (una coppia di ragazzi conosciutisi per caso nella carrozza) decidono di cercare di risolvere il caso, per non essere uccisi a loro volta, rischiando comunque di esserlo. Con il loro aiuto il caso viene risolto: un giovane e squattrinato studente, amante di una ricca ed attempata attrice (una delle vittime) ha organizzato gli omicidi con il suo amante, un giovane poliziotto nevrotico, per derubare la donna e fuggire insieme in Africa; per cui bisognava uccidere tutti i componenti del vagone-letto per non destare sospetti. Alla fine, dopo un inseguimento notturno per le vie di Parigi, lo studente viene arrestato ed il complice si suicida per non essere catturato. Written by
This twisted cop mystery follows the efforts of the overworked Paris police to solve first, a murder in a couchette car, the dead body discovered only after all the other passengers left, and then the strange necking of many of the others before the cops can get to talk to them. There is great acting here from Signoret, Montand and others, and very amusing supporting parts (the seasoned crook and talker Bob will have you cracking up) but the film doesn't really hang together tight as a police mystery. I agree with an earlier reviewer that it spells trouble for you as a viewer that the passengers, whom we glimpse in half-darkness on the train, remain nameless for too long, and when they are identified by the police, the names are not steadily linked to faces.
It's confusing too that some of the characters suddenly muse into flashback kicking off from lines spoken to them on the train. This deepens them as characters but doesn't make the story concise. And at the police station, things are suddenly tossed in by phone calls in a way that looks haphazard. The root cause, I think, is that the film followed the book too closely, while Costa-Gavras knows how to create arresting, vivid scenes, he hasn't learnt at this point how to reimagine a storyline from writing so that it works on the screen, and so the movie seems a bit unfocused. When the final cause of the murders starts to crop up, it looks for too long like a joke element brought in for atmosphere.
It's not a bad movie at all; the photography is great, the final car chase is a winner (how often do you see a car chase in 1960s Paris?) and the acting is very good. Don't expect a murder story, though, with the tightness and relentless, upheld suspense of "Strangers On A Train" or even some episodes of "Columbo" or "Kojak".
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