A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't ... See full summary »
Lt. Commander Finchhaven, a ghostly relic from the First World War, he had fallen down dead drunk on his first assignment and been consigned from the great beyond to sail the seas until a ... See full summary »
Harry is a married writer who has an affair with a woman whose husband knows that she is unfaithful. As a result of his work, Harry has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality ... See full summary »
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
The character of Mlle Villard is based on Rose Antonia Maria Valland - a French art historian, a member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. As overseer of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris during the German occupation, Valland began secretly recording as much as possible about more than 20,000 pieces of art that had been brought to the Jeu de Paume. She understood German and for four years kept track of where and to whom in Germany the plundered artworks were shipped. She provided the information to the French Underground and about railroad shipments of art so that they would not mistakenly blow up the trains loaded with art treasures. A few weeks before the Liberation of Paris, on August 1, 1944, Valland learned that the Germans were planning to ship out five last boxcars full of art, including many of the modern paintings which they had hitherto neglected. She notified her contacts in the Resistance, who prevented the train from leaving Paris. The movie was inspired by her 1961 non-fiction book "Le front de l'art: défense des collections françaises, 1939-1945" (The Art Front: Defence of the French Collections, 1939-1945). See more »
When the armored German locomotive is moving into position in Vaires to haul the art train, several 1960 era automobiles can be seen in the far background parked on a street. See more »
Listen, you idiots! The war'll be over in a few days! Now leave it alone.
You get caught up in something, you can't leave it alone.
See more »
A Different Kind Of WWII Movie, And One Of The Best
This is one of my all-time favorite war movies, always rated in the top three since I first saw it years ago. I rate it so high because of four main things:
1 - Wonderful black-and-white photography; 2 - an interesting cast led by two great actors, Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield; 3 - An intelligent, different kind of war story revolving around stolen works of great art; 4 - Just the right amount of action.
Not only the blacks-and-whites look good but the grays, too. The nighttime train shots with the white steam coming out is just spectacular. You can feel the grease and grime on these railroad men as the work on the train. The person best exemplifying that is the Frenchman Michel Simon who plays "Papa Boule," the engineer who begins the train trip and then is shot after being discovered sabotaging it. What a great face this man had! He, Lancaster and other grimy railroad men with soot all over their faces give this a real authentic feel. Most of the cast is either French or German but if you have a hard time understanding a few lines, you can put on the English subtitles if you are playing the DVD.
This is a pretty long film but it doesn't have many lulls, especially the train starts to roll. I have viewed this a number of times and have never been disappointed with it. Director John Frankenheimer gives some interesting commentary on this, too, so you might to check that out on the disc.
30 of 39 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?