THE TRAIN (1964)

Dir. John Frankenheimer

With some of the most impressive train effects ever put on screen, this fact-based World War II thriller still dazzles. In his third film, Paul Scofield steals scenes just as his character, a Nazi military officer, sets out to steal several boxcars filled with precious modern art from Paris on the eve of the city's liberation. Burt Lancaster stars as the French railway inspector reluctantly recruited to save the treasures through a series of elaborate ruses. The film started with Arthur Penn as director, but after months of script preparations and one day of shooting, Lancaster decided Penn’s approach was too cerebral and brought in John Frankenheimer to make it an action picture. Frankenheimer’s insistence on using full-sized trains for the special effects scenes almost doubled the budget, but the spectacular results, particularly when one engine crashes into another at 60 mph, justified the expense. Executives at United Artists were so impressed they asked for more, so Frankenheimer added a scene of a train outracing a British spitfire to hide in a tunnel.

In attendance: Scott Feinberg.

THE TRAIN
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