semi-work purposes. | Retro-View: The Train
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Retro-View: The Train

Retro-View: The Train

“Hurry it up! We’re working on a locomotive, not a pocket watch!”
PLOT SYNOPSIS: In 1944, a German colonel loads a train with French art treasures to send to Germany. The Resistance must stop it without damaging the cargo.


Directors: John FrankenheimerArthur Penn (uncredited)

Writers: Franklin Coen (screen story), Frank Davis (screen story)|3 more credits »





Burt Lancaster was my grandmother’s favourite actor. Needless to say, time spent with my Grandma was dominated by her relentless quest to inject me with a steady dose of ‘Tinseltown classics’, many of which of course starred this leader amongst leading men.


Burt Lancaster. Able to go ‘bush mechanic’ on a locomotive, keep his cool around hormonal Nazis…the man can even pull off the cardigan+machine gun look. Is there ANYTHING he can’t do?

I remember asking why he was in so many of the films we watched. She replied, ” because the boy is a dish, Petal” (Petal was her nickname for me).

My Grandma taught me the life skills that have since gone on to prove vital – singing, curling my hair like Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardiner, being sassy, cooking sweet and sour pork like the Chinese definitely don’t, being ‘courted’ (her favourite catchphrase I believe was, “I had them like pigeons…eating seeds out the palm of my hand…”). That said, the greatest gift she, and my Super 8-toting, barbershop singin’ grandfather passed on to me (and my Dad, naturally), was a love and appreciation of cinema. And of course Burt Lancaster. Yet, though it appears I have experienced the bulk of his filmography, today is the first time I have ever seen The Train.




Perhaps she skipped The Train because it was all boyish, procedural and war-related (not the most obvious choice for grandma/granddaughter movie night). Or maybe his shirt was on for too much of the film. Either way, my new quest to close the gap and watch undiscovered Lancaster classics is off to a fantastic start. He really is “the bees knees”. And The Train‘s cinematography and use of locations certainly belongs in the first class cabin.

“Better call Barry at the depot…might need some bus replacement services for this one…”

I love trains, I love explosions, I love strafing…and I’m getting my fix of ‘ze Germunz’ post-Dunkirk screening as well. I’m pretty sure my grandmother would have rated this one (she had a thing for men in uniform). I definitely recommend this old school charmer. Not just to those who think “the DC Universe” is somewhere you can buy denture cleaner, or thought Dunkirk was “a bit loud”. I recommend it to anyone with an attention span, patience, taste…and a little class. “It will carry you to the peak of adventure!”

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