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The Train (VHS) (1964)

Burt Lancaster , Paul Scofield , John Frankenheimer    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
Price: 11.99
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Product details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Simon, Suzanne Flon
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Format: PAL, HiFi Sound, Black & White
  • Language: English, German
  • Classification: PG
  • VHS Release Date: 29 May 2000
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CQ2B
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,862 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In Second World War France, German Colonel von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) orders the railway transfer of priceless works of art from the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris to the Fatherland. The French Resistance are determined to stop the cargo ever reaching Germany, and enrol railway inspector Labiche (Burt Lancaster) to help them in their cause. Franklin Coen and Frank Davis's script was nominated for an Oscar.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Train - Excellent War Film 30 Jan 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent and highly distinctive war film with plenty of action but also an intelligent subtext about our attitudes to war and art. The latter is noteworthy but it is not done in a way that intrudes on the film's primary function - to entertain. What really stand out are the real-life action sequences involving genuine trains (many of which get destroyed!) and which give the film an authenticity that simply cannot be re-created by modern CGI techniques, no matter how sophisticated. Filmed at a time when the French steam locomotives (and much of traditional French railway infrastructure) was being run down, the film makers were pretty much given carte blanche to play with and destroy at will; that may seem like heresy to railway lovers today but as all of these trains were destined for the scrap yard anyway this wasn't then the case. Although the film does have a gritty, realistic feel, some elements of the plot don't bear too much close scrutiny. Burt Lancaster's character seems to have an encylopedic knowledge of all aspects of railway operation, being an expert signaller, mechanic, platelayer and engine driver all rolled into one, as well as being versed in wartime resistance techniques! Key to the plot is a plan to kid the Germans that a train conveying looted art works is passing numerous locations en route to Germany when in fact it is taking a totally different route back to Paris, a deception arranged at very short notice, but"fake" station signs etc. are somehow all immediately available! However, a reasonable degree of poetic licence is forgiveable in what is primarily an action movie.

As was customary, the athletic Burt Lancaster did all of his own stunts which also adds to the realistic feel of the film, but there is an ironic twist.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WW2 thrillers ever made 27 Nov 2006
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
The Train is one of those films that is really more European than American. John Frankenheimer (taking over from Arthur Penn) was always the American director who was most influenced by French cinema, with the result that this, the last major action film shot in black and white, has more of a low-key more continental feel to it than a Hollywood one - aside from Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield (who for once comes perilously close to ham without ever quite crossing the line) and La Silence de la Mer's Howard Vernon, the cast is made up almost entirely of the great and good of French cinema, from Jeanne Moreau to Michel Simon. What's more, the realistic style - more pre-war French cinema than nouvelle vague - sells the action scenes which, in other hands, could become pure comic book stuff a la Von Ryan's Express. The fact that the key action scenes are done `for real,' with a condemned railway yard blown up during the air raid sequence and real locomotives crashing into each other, only shows up the weightless artificiality of much modern CGI or of the miniature work of the day. The crash in particular, which destroyed one camera, has a sense of weight and violence to it that you just don't see in films anymore. Still impressive stuff.

Sadly, John Frankenheimer's audio commentary included on the R1 NTSC DVD is NOT included on the R2 release - a great pity, since it's particularly good and enlightening. Very highly recommended nonetheless.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Train 6 Sep 2005
One of the best films of resistance in Europe that it should go hand in hand with The Pianist, and Kanal. Some brilliant action sequences for it's time and some very tragic moments as war is full of it. The ending is where the film leaves it's message and the filming and scripting is beautifully suited for it. Overall an excellent film.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An artistic war movie, but still a war movie 24 Aug 2007
This film is a remarkable achievement. It is really a genre busting classic because it combines both the excitement of a WW2 action film and the thoughtful insight of a European art house movie. Its premise is based fairly loosely on real events, but the spirit of the peice rings very true. It manages to have quite a French feel to it, which I like, and the lead character is perfectly played by Lancaster, which was a great bit of casting.

It is yet another of those war movies in which everyone speaks English, but I didn't feel it spoiled the experience at all, whereas in some films it does. This probably has to do with the fact that it carefully creates a Gallic aura in all other aspects of the film. The photography is very good indeed - all sharp and arty angles and seems even to gain something from being in black and white, as many good films do. Scofield's lofty Nazi officer in cahrge of the important operation, brings immense depth to the movie, and that's where the film becomes a thought piece as well. In that respect, Scofield's character was probably the most critical element in the film for it to achieve what it managed to achieve.

Of course it's not too deep, it just floats the subjects of cultural heritage and national pride to elevate the film above being a mere action movie, but it does make its point. It builds very nicely towards the inevitable showdown between Lancaster and Scofield, the real action that viewers have been waiting for, and it delivers well.
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