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As the Allied forces approach Paris in August 1944, German Colonel Von Waldheim is desperate to take all of France's greatest paintings to Germany. He manages to secure a train to transport the valuable art works even as the chaos of retreat descends upon them. The French resistance however wants to stop them from stealing their national treasures but have received orders from London that they are not to be destroyed. The station master, Labiche, is tasked with scheduling the train and making it all happen smoothly but he is also part of a dwindling group of resistance fighters tasked with preventing the theft. He and others stage an elaborate ruse to keep the train from ever leaving French territory. Written by
I enjoy train films as a whole, my film collection is categorized into themes, such as trains, etc., and this is, by far, the best train film I've ever seen. The wreck scene, as well as the moving train(s) were very real, in fact, as story has it, the equipment used was WW1 vintage locomotives rescued from the scrap heap, and renovated to allow them at least to move, if not under their own power, then off-camera, pushed or pulled by more modern equipment. The elaborate wreck scene was incredibly beautiful in execution. By far the best train wreck scene I've ever seen in any film! Kudos to Frankenheimer for his expertise, as well as the technical special-effects people for their diligent, hard work in bringing this story to life on the screen! Although I cringe at seeing ANY type of machinery destroyed, this was really beautiful! A Real Masterpiece!
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