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The Train (1964)

By Luisa F. Ribeiro | Posted

A tension-filled, action-packed World War II adventure pitting a bull-headed French railway official (Burt Lancaster) against a sophisticated, art-loving Nazi (Paul Scofield), The Train proves that they don't make 'em like they used to, and probably can't. Fatalistic bureaucrat Labiche isn't interested in stopping German Col. Von Waldheim from pillaging valuable masterpieces from Paris before it is liberated by the Allies. But when one of his own workers is bumped off by the Germans for his involvement with the Resistance, Labiche comes boiling to life, risking all to keep Von Waldheim's train from departing. Director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), in his mid-'60s prime, crams The Train with great action and great dramatics, but this is Lancaster's show, and what a show it is. At 50, he was still in prime condition, even doing his own audacious stunts (resulting in a knee injury that was simply written into the plot). If movies indeed ain't what they used to be, it's because we've no more stars like the larger-than-life Lancaster. Alas.

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