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Caught On a Train

Peggy Ashcroft , Michael Kitchen , Peter Duffell  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Peggy Ashcroft, Michael Kitchen, Wendy Raebeck, Michael Sheard, Ingo Mogendorf
  • Directors: Peter Duffell
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00024JBB8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,236 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Caught On a Train" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Background featurette with Stephen Poliakoff, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and others

Editorial Reviews

An overnight train trip through Europe becomes a profoundly unsettling odyssey for a young English businessman in this award-winning BBC drama. Peter (Michael Kitchen) boards the Ostend-Vienna express on his way to an important meeting and is delighted to meet a potential companion, a free-spirited young American (Wendy Raebeck) traveling alone. Already crowded, their compartment is overrun by the arrival of an imperious Viennese dowager, Frau Messner (Dame Peggy Ashcroft). This vestige of Old Europe becomes Peter’s nemesis, by turns infuriating and fascinating him, while his relationship with the young American takes an unexpected course.

Winner of three BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Awards), including best single drama.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE background featurette with writer Stephen Poliakoff, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and others; commentary with Stephen Poliakoff and producer Kenith Trodd; and filmographies.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art film of the early 1980s July 31, 2004
I'm sure CAUGHT ON A TRAIN is one of those arty films that I will have to watch several times to fully appreciate. I bought the DVD because I like Peggy Ashcroft (JEWEL IN THE CROWN) and Michael Kitchen (FOYLE'S WAR). Only thing is that Kitchen is very young in this film and not much like that wizened fellow called Foyle. The third actress listed in the DVD credits (Wendy Raebeck) is a relatively minor character, mostly a witness or observer of the action between Ashcroft and Kitchen. Kitchen's young man (Peter) is an employee of a book publising firm in England .Peter represents the face of modern Europe, extremely in need of success (at any cost?), and dispising the "old order" represented by Ascroft's Frau Messner. The interaction between the two characters is mesmerizing. Depending on your age and outlook on life you will find the story amusing, frustrating or sad. The setting is some time after WWII on the express train that runs from Ostend to Vienna. The train is the backdrop for the whole film, and the shots of the vintage express are woth the price of the DVD for those who love trains (me).

The scenes from the train of stations, rivers, industrial areas and farm land will probably never be seen again in quite the same way, as Europe has "modernized" it's old cities farms (progress from the perspective of those who value success as the reason for living, a disaster for those who cherish the past). If you appreciate an artistic exploration of the intense psychological exchange that can take place between two fellow passengers on a long trip, you will find this 80 minute film holds it's own with films of it's ilk.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Makes Amtrak look posh July 3, 2005
If you think European long-distance trains are the epitome of classy service, perhaps you should see CAUGHT ON A TRAIN, a British dark comedy that has similarities to 1985's AFTER HOURS in that it focuses upon the macabre, nighttime misadventures of the lead character otherwise out of his element.

Peter (Michael Kitchen, very young with lots of hair), a self-absorbed English businessman on his way to Linz, boards the Ostend to Vienna Trans European Express. Peter usually travels by air, but has decided this once to take to the rails just to see what it's like. Big mistake.

At first, the journey looks promising. Peter is to share his six-seat reserved compartment with a very attractive and sexy American girl, Lorraine (Wendy Raebeck). Perhaps they'll have the space to themselves? But that's not to be as other occupants crowd in, including Frau Messner (Peggy Ashcroft), an imperious, impatient, Viennese grand dame who's used to getting her way, and getting it now. She and Peter immediately lock horns as she demands, and he refuses to relinquish, his window seat. Then, Peter almost misses the train's departure as he reluctantly volunteers to make a dash to the station newsstand to get the old lady some magazines for the trip. Their relationship goes from bad to worse to bizarre such that, by the time Peter stumbles off the carriage at his destination, he's exhausted, unshaven, shirtless, mud-spattered, with a torn suit jacket, discomfited, and minus his ticket.

CAUGHT ON A TRAIN isn't a complete success. The potential provided by the Lorraine character goes nowhere for reasons that aren't immediately apparent. Indeed, her presence is such a plot dead end that I felt she should've been left out of the script entirely.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little atmospheric film November 29, 2005
I first saw this film when it was broadcast on the A&E cable channel in the U.S. in the early 1990's. I loved it then, but I remember that A&E's on-air promotional spot for it made it seem like a thriller and completely missed the whole point of the movie.

I won't simply re-hash the plot as you can read that above, but I will say that what I like about this movie is the rich, late-night atmosphere of overnight train travel in early 80's Europe. Add to that Stephen Poliakoff's script, the superb acting all around (especially by Kitchen and Ashcroft) and the truly wonderful jazz soundtrack by Mike Westbrook. One sees this and has to wonder why American television doesn't ever turn out tv movies of this calibre.

I was extremely pleased and surprised to find that this film is out on DVD and I bought it immediately. The DVD has a decent little featurette which includes lengthy comments by writer Stephen Poliakoff as well as some brief interview clips from Dame Peggy Ashcroft about, "Caught on a Train." There is also an interesting and insightful screen-specific commentary track with Poliakoff and producer Kenith Trodd.

Poliakoff and Trodd both ask a question which I too was wondering: what an earth has happened to actress Wendy Raebeck who plays Lorraine in this movie?

I very much enjoyed this DVD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caught on a Train - Review - Changing Times. August 13, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Caught on a Train - a classic BBC drama and a last chance to see the wonderful actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft in a commanding yet subtle performance. Caught on a Train is also caught on the cusp of changing times. The imperious Frau Messner, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, is the Viennese dowager holding firmly to times past. Monstrous in her manipulations and demands she is set against a range of flawed characters mostly behaving out of self interest in pursuit of career and a range of youth behaviours from the hooligans on the train to the homeless on the European platforms. Slowly, subtly, we come to realise, as does her protagonist Peter the English businessman, that there is much to admire of this women who is the last bastion of old European culture. A drama of dialogue and close up shots this one is a gem.
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