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 »
When the hobos are picking the switch lock, they are using lock picking tools that are used on tumbler locks and talking about tumblers. An Adlake switch lock of that design is a warded lock and does not have tumblers. See more »
A no. 1:
[At the end of the movie, A No. 1 throws Cigaret off of the train, into a pond, and shouts to him from the train]
Hey kid you got no class. Hit the bums, kid. Run like the devil. Get a tin can and take up mooching. Knock on back doors for a nickel.
A no. 1:
Tell them your story. Make 'em weep. You could have been a meat-eater, kid. But you didn't listen to me when I laid it down.
A no. 1:
Stay off the tracks. Forget it. Its a bum's world for a bum. You'll never be Emperor of the North Pole, kid. You had the juice, ...
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Originally premiered as "Emperor of the North Pole": the film was pulled from release because people thought the film was about the Arctic. It was re-released as "Emperor of the North" and given two different advertising campaigns: one with a poster playing up the comedy, another with a poster playing up the violence (The poster said "If you can ride Shack's train and live, you're...Emperor of the North!"). Neither new campaign clicked with audiences. The song "A Man and a Train" is sung in "Emperor of the North" by Marty Robbins. The poster for the original release says it is sung by Bill Medley. It is unknown what other changes, if any, were made between the two releases. See more »
Ernest Borgnine was superb as the murderous railroad agent intent on keeping a legendary hobo off his train. Lee Marvin gave one of his best performances as A#1, the hobo's hobo, who is equally set on riding the rails on Borgnine's unrideable #19. Keith Carradine almost stole the show as a useless, me first punk out to prove his manhood in the harsh hobo camps. Very realistic looking sets and the entire film captured the flavor of the depression era perfectly. 4 stars.
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