The Train

1964, Les Productions Artistes Associés et al

John Frankenheimer's riveting quasi-faux-documentary of the Nazis looting French art museums during World War II is, and in all likelihood will remain, my very favorite drama. Never mind that Burt Lancaster reprises his role as Burt Lancaster; Paul Scofield's memorable meltdown, as Colonel von Waldheim, surely brings the house down. Frankenheimer's unusual cinematic techniques—long unbroken takes, razor focus across the full depth of field, and choice of black-and-white film—are noteworthy, and enhance The Train's powerful, visceral drama. Not to mention that the train crashes are simply spectacular—and all of them are real. They even used real dynamite in a number of bombing scenes. Of course, being a "train nut" admittedly influences my feeling about the film, but that's just incidental; The Train has a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, for what it's worth.

       

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