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
In real life the museum's paintings were indeed loaded into a train for shipment to Germany, but fortunately the elaborate deception seen in the movie was not really required. The train was merely routed onto a ring railway and circled around and around Paris until the Allies arrived. See more »
Waldheim originally orders the train to depart on the morning of August 3, but in all later scenes everyone knows that daylight runs are much too dangerous due to the risk of bombing (which did not suddenly increase on that date). See more »
Opening credits prologue: PARIS August 2-1944 1511th day of German occupation See more »
Whilst the official run time is 133 minutes, the BBFC website has two separate entries, one with a theatrical 'U' rated certificate in 1964 running at 141 minutes 31 seconds and the other entry with a theatrical 'A' rated certificate in 1959 running at 90 minutes 37 seconds. Though the second entry seems incorrect due to the erroneous date of certification being 21 October 1959 (the film was being made in 1963 and is copyrighted in 1964) and a much shorter run time, the BBFC reference numbering is in sequence with the later video rated entries so it is unknown if this 1959 entry is a much shorter cut of this film or this is an error in the BBFC records. It is also not known if the 142 minute entry is a longer cut of the film that has simply not been since it's UK theatrical release in 1964. See more »
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!
30 of 40 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this