Written April 06, 2009
John Frankenheimer's gritty 1964 actioner THE TRAIN still holds up exceptionally well today - especially in this age of CGI mania where just about every movie with even a car chase seems to be streamlined somehow. Not here - inspired on real events, Burt Lancaster convincingly plays a hardnosed French railway official shortly before the dismantling of the Third Reich in Paris. The Nazi's - headed by and obsessed general played by a wonderfully subdued paul Scofield - desperately want to transport, via train cargo, a cache of stolen works of art by the Masters: Renoir, Manet, Degas, et al. Lancaster and his few remaining cohorts begrudgingly get snared into stopping the barreling vehicle at any cost, human or otherwise. Amazingly powerful story played almost entirely on actual locations in Europe with REAL locomotives! The plot is skillfuly and ingeniusly spun in amidst true patriotic convictions of some and the lust of power of others. An authentic masterpiece of action and reality!