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The Train Blu-ray Review

“The Train” runs too long.

Set in 1944 in occupied Paris, the story of “The Train” revolves around a Nazi Colonel (Franz von Waldheim) who is dead set on stealing priceless paintings from France and transporting them to Germany via train. Enter French Railway Inspector and French Resistance group leader Paul Labiche who decides to stop the train from reaching its destination.

Directed by John Frankenheimer, 1964’s “The Train” is a different sort of WWII film. The primary story is about saving and preserving art, but the central character (Paul) doesn’t value art in the way others do. He’s much more about trying to save lives which doesn’t always happen. This is especially evident in the end sequence (which is arguably the best part of the entire film). 

Aside from that unique angle, “The Train” suffers from being a bit of a repetitive cat-and-mouse game between Paul and the Colonel. Had the film been trimmed 20 or so minutes, it would have been a much more exciting and tightly paced movie. As is, it just feels a bit stop and go (pun intended) with Paul trying to sabotage the train and stay ahead of the Colonel.

One thing that cannot be disputed, however, is that the B&W cinematography by Jack Tournier and Walter Wottitz is stunning (particularly the tracking shots). It really sets the tone of the movie and also manages to showcase thrilling action sequences that are full of shootouts, explosions, and train derailments. Of course, the visionary Frankenheimer also deserves credit for his work here too. 

Burt Lancaster is certainly one of Hollywood’s finest actors, but he’s a bit miscast here in that he doesn’t even attempt to be playing a Frenchman. Paul Scofield, on the other hand, steals the movie as the art obsessed Colonel.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.66:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W print is pristine plain and simple.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Expect a lively audio track (especially during the action scenes). 


Extras:
* 2 commentary tracks. One quiet one by John Frankenheimer and the other by filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and author Steven Jay Rubin is much more talkative.
* Isolated score by Maurice Jarre.
* Trailers for “The Train,” “Run Silent, Run Deep” and “Judgment At Nuremberg.”
* A “Trailers From Hell” segment on “The Train.”

February 23, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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