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Caught On A Train [1980] [DVD]

21 customer reviews

Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Peggy Ashcroft, Michael Kitchen, Wendy Raebeck, Michael Sheard, Louis Sheldon
  • Directors: Peter Duffell
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Feb. 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AISIZ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,654 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

BAFTA Winner: Best Single Play. Starring Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Michael Kitchen with Wendy Raebeck.

Inspired by a journey the writer made as a young man, this drama has been acclaimed as a television masterpiece. As a young businessman travels through Germany on a crowded night train he encounters a demanding elderly Viennese lady in the same carriage. Over the course of one equally nightmarish and moving overnight journey, she has a profound and unsettling influence on the young Englishman.

Review

"A revelatory piece of television film-making" -- The Sunday Times

"Brilliant" -- Mark Lawson, The Guardian

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This, apparently, dated journey on a grubby trans European train will contrast starkly with its modern equivalent. Unless of course you’re a British rail commuter when it will seem bang up to date.
Peter, an arrogant ex public schoolboy, is travelling to a Linz book fair when he meets an American girl and hopes his luck is in. However, things are complicated by the arrival in the same compartment of Frau Messener, an elderly, once upper class, Austrian who matches Peters arrogance and surpasses it with her spoilt demands.
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, whose eyes are far to young for her ageing frame, wonderfully portrays the matriarch of a fallen race. The part of Peter, played by Michael Kitchen, seems to have been written for him. Anyone who travelled in Europe in the 70’s, encountering armed border guards who seem to be in training for the next Reich, will appreciate the undertones of paranoia.
Gritty, atmospheric and delivering a sense of frustration right to the fractured end when we glimpse the potential of empathy between Peter and Frau Messener, but tantalisingly never quite make it. Not everyone’s cup of tea, hence four stars, but never the less a classic Poliakoff.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By r0ng0r0ng0 VINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2005
Format: DVD
This made a big impression on me when I first saw it in the 80s and it was great to find it again. Poliakoff and director Peter Duffel make a number of subtle references to "The Lady Vanishes" and other train-based classics but in this film the corridors are crowded with obnoxious passengers, the staff surly and the officials intimidating. The train and its passengers serve as a metaphor for a Europe still fighting the cold war and living with political extremists from left and right.

The whole contrast between the old order of glamorous travel for a privileged few and the new one of near anarchy is played out between Michael Kitchen and Peggy Ashcroft's characters. It is the character development rather than the twists of the plot that are the strong points of the movie. This would have been 5 stars but some people might be lulled by the background into expecting some kind of who-done-it. If you are willing simply enjoy the great acting and direction then this is a must-see.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Twist on 9 Jan. 2010
Format: DVD
I saw 'Caught on a Train' when it was first broadcast by the BBC in 1980. Once seen, never forgotten.

"It has the structure of a thriller" says scriptwriter Stephen Poliakoff, "...but without the thriller itself". There are nods to both 'The Lady Vanishes' and 'Murder On The Orient Express', but there is no murder and nobody vanishes. Well, nobody much, anyway...

A young publishing executive from England, Peter (played by Michael Kitchen), catches a train across Europe in order to attend a book fair in Germany. His journey starts out straightforwardly enough, but then gradually descends into a nightmare of suspicion, humiliation and seemingly motiveless persecution. At the heart of the story is fellow-passenger Frau Messner (Dame Peggy Ashcroft), a spoilt, imperious and antagonistic old lady who is travelling home to Vienna. Swathed in furs, she represents the old, pre-war order and is accompanied by the dark shadows of past Nazi associations and the Holocaust. The essence of the piece is the antagonistic anti-relationship which is struck up between Frau Messner and Peter as the train carries them to the heart of Europe.

"You are an evil old woman!" He shouts at her, at one point. "The member of an extinct species!"

"And you..?" She quietly retorts, "How long do you think you will last?"

It remains a pertinent question. For if Frau Messner represents both the darkness and the richness of Europe's past, then Peter represents the corporate, lego-block banality of its present. "You have success," the old lady tells him, "but you don't really care about anything....
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christophe on 4 Feb. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A nightmare journey with impossible traveling companions. This film captures a world of students and unrest as remembered by Stephen Poliakoff where nothing is what it seems to be. Peggy Ashcroft gives a superb performance, one of her finest, while Michael Kitchen as the bewildered trapped fellow traveler is like a fly caught in a web, the relief when he finally leaves the train is shared by us all with a performance of subtly and depth.
The director, Peter Duffell, catches the essence of the claustrophobic journey and reveals that even more open spaces you can still be trapped by events.
A brilliant story that unfolds and slowly draws you along on this amazing train journey. For all lovers of English drama and English acting at its best.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Graham Chapman on 11 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A strange romance between an old lady and a young man. A superb film - great character study, striking european-jazz soundtrack, very atmospheric. I hadn't seen it for years, then got back home after some long train journeys through Russia and dug it out of the dvd collection. Is this film dated? Yes, because who could write or film any kind of romance on a modern day train? And if the trains themselves don't destroy human relations then the passengers with their mobiles and music players do. Watch this film to remember what travel could be, when a journey had some excitement about it, even in the seedy down-at-heel glamour of the night train.
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