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It is during the great depression in the US, and the land is full of people who are now homeless. Those people, commonly called "hobos", are truly hated by Shack (Borgnine), a sadistical railway conductor who swore that no hobo will ride his train for free. Well, no-one but "A" Number One (Lee Marvin), who is ready to put his life at stake to become a local legend - as the first person who survived the trip on Shack's notorious train. Written by
Brian Peterson email@example.com
The film was set in Oregon in 1933. The movie was first released in 1973 thereby making it exactly forty years after the events depicted in the movie were set. See more »
There are several parts of the movie where you hear crossing gate bells. In one scene, the train is passing a field of wheat or dead grass. You hear the bells ringing, but there is no RR crossing, street, or crossing gate and bell to be seen. See more »
Prairie Special engineer:
They greased the rails, the goddamn tramps.
Prairie Special conductor:
I don't give a damn if they're Democrats. Get this moving!
See more »
There were just so many great B movies made in the 70s and this is one of the best. Stark and cruel but completely watchable and with two excellent male leads, this brutal hobo railroad drama remains fixed in most viewers minds forever. It is also part of two great sub genres...the depression years drama and the railroad thriller. So many films to choose from in either genre and practically all watchable and enjoyable. EMPEROR was released for about 10 days and never surfaced again. I used to add it in as a double feature in my cinema right up until about 1980 and it always commanded major discovery status. The problem is the title: and like DAY OF THE LOCUST or EMPIRE OF THE SUN or other confusing titles the pubic never found it themselves. It failed on first release and was only repeatedly discovered when the public went to a double feature as described above. In Oz it was released only as EMPEROR OF THE NORTH. You could almost mix'n'match films in those days; THE STREETFIGHTER, BUSTER AND BILLIE, THE SPIKES GANG, FROM NOON TILL THREE, WHATS THE MATTER WITH HELEN, BLOODY MAMA, all interchangeable in any programme. Others here can tell you the story, but I will tell you to find it yourself and have a major discovery film enter your library.
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