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Night Train to Munich (The Criterion Collection) (1938)

Margaret Lockwood , Rex Harrison , Carol Reed  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid
  • Directors: Carol Reed
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003D3Y65G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,884 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Night Train to Munich (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • New video conversation between film scholars Peter Evans and Bruce Babington
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Kemp

  • Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com

    A certain breathless immediacy pulses through Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich, even if the movie conveys a puckish sense of fun. The immediacy probably stems from the topical subject matter: released in Britain in the summer of 1940, less than a year after the beginning of World War II, the film serves up still-fresh images of espionage, Hitler's SS, and concentration camps. The opening reels are packed with excitement: plucky Czech Margaret Lockwood hustles her scientist father (James Harcourt) out from under the Nazi thumb, only to fall to more skullduggery after emigrating to England. Rex Harrison plays her breezy British contact, first seen singing a jaunty tune as a song plugger (for anyone familiar with Harrison's later My Fair Lady vocalizing, his career here is highly amusing). The second half of the picture concentrates on a journey across Europe as the war is breaking out, and clearly aspires to (and frequently matches) the comic-suspenseful mode perfected in Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, which also starred Lockwood. Both films were written by the crack team of Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, who bring in that glorious cricket-loving combo from The Lady Vanishes, Charters and Caldicott. They are played again by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, who are just as funny here as they were in the earlier picture. Years before The Third Man and The Fallen Idol, Reed's direction navigates the tricky shifts between comedy, high adventure, and can-do wartime patriotism: see the splendid silent beat that follows the moment Charters and Caldicott hear that war has begun, broken by Charters's serious reflection that it will now be dashed difficult to get his golf clubs out of Europe. Superb. The Criterion release of Night Train to Munich includes a half-hour conversation between experts on the filmmakers--staged, fittingly, aboard an old train car. --Robert Horton

    Product Description

    A twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight, NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH is a gripping, occasionally comic confection from writers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat (Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes) and director Carol Reed (The Fallen Idol, The Third Man). Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH takes viewers on a World War IIera journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood, of The Lady Vanishes), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison (Major Barbara, My Fair Lady). This captivating, long-overlooked adventure--which also features Casablanca's Paul Henreid --mixes comedy, romance, and thrills with enough skill and cleverness to give the master of suspense himself pause.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    While this is one of Carol Reed's first-class movies, it also owes a lot to Alfred Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes. It was written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, who also wrote Lady, and the co-star is Margaret Lockwood, who also starred in The Lady Vanishes. The movie is a wonderful WWII chase film, with excellent performances by Lockwood, Paul Henreid and, especially, Rex Harrison. The Criterion release is not due until mid-June, but I will assume Criterion's usual meticulous care. I've watched Night Train to Munich several times on an execrable VHS transfer and plan to purchase Criterion's treatment sight unseen. The movie is a delight of style, charm and adventure. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed.

    Professor Bomasch, a Czech scientist who has discovered a new kind of armor, and his daughter, Anna (Lockwood), flee their country for Britain one step ahead of Nazi agents. The professor makes it but his daughter is captured and sent to a concentration camp. A fellow inmate, Karl Marsen (Henreid), befriends her and they manage to escape and make their way across the channel. Anna searches for her father and is directed to a seedy boardwalk song man, Gus Bennett (Harrison), who is in fact a British agent charged with protecting her father. A Nazi agent finds and kidnaps the professor and returns him to Berlin. He takes the daughter, too, and Gus goes after them. After many adventures, including Gus bluffing his way into Gestapo headquarters as a German officer, a danger-filled journey on the night train to Munich and a rousing escape on a tram line high in the Alps between Germany and Switzerland, Gus succeeds in rescuing Professor Bomasch and Anna and winning Anna's love.
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    17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Superb WW II espionage thriller October 15, 2002
    First, the bad news. I have seen two VHS versions of this superb film circulating, but both are of exceedingly low quality. I could be wrong, but I believe that at the moment there is not a first rate version of this film available in any format. We stand in great need of a fully restored DVD version of this film. The available VHS version looks scratched and poorly focused. It is still enjoyable, but one has the illusion of watching a bad print in the wee hours of the morning.
    On one level, this film is a sort of remake of Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES. The parallels to the latter are especially strong, and not at all accidental. The screenplays for both THE LADY VANISHES and NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH were written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder. Furthermore, Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford recreated their delightful characters Charters and Caldicott, two British twits who nearly stole the show in THE LADY VANISHES. Although they don't make quite the impact in this film that they did in THE LADY VANISHES, their presence nonetheless adds considerably to the film. The female protagonist is portrayed by Margaret Lockwood, who was also in the Hitchcock film. New to the Carol Reed film are an utterly delightful (as usual) Rex Harrison and Paul Henreid. Like THE LADY VANISHES, much of the film takes place on the European continent on a train, and the male hero in each film has a career that involves to some degree music.
    NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH is not, however, as good as THE LADY VANISHES. The difference isn't in the cast and the script but in the directors. In a suspense film of this kind, Hitchcock would shame any competitor, and both his touch with suspense and with comedy (elements dominant in both films) exceeds that of the otherwise quite gifted Carol Reed.
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    11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Espionage Thriller June 14, 2010
    Format:DVD
    At the start of World War II, Nazi agents pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood) in order to get his formula for superior military armaments. They are able to kidnap them back to Germany from their safe haven in England, but a British secret agent (Rex Harrison), masquerading as a high-ranking German officer, executes a daring plan to rescue the pair before the scientist's secrets are revealed.

    Carol Reed directed this companion film to THE LADY VANISHES, which has a screenplay by the writers of that Hitchcock classic, Sidney Gillant and Frank Launder. The script has a couple of surprising plot twists, one of which occurs fairly early in the movie.

    Rex Harrison, in his first major film role, and Margaret Lockwood are joined in the cast by Paul Henreid (billed as "Paul Von Hernried" here), Basil Radford and Naughton Wayne, the latter two repeating their delightful "very British" comic cricket aficionados from THE LADY VANISHES, Charters and Caldicott.

    The main difference between this and the 1938 movie is that Hitchcock's picture is more of a mystery that begs to be solved (i.e. what happened to the old lady?) while Reed's film is, essentially, a chase melodrama. Even though NIGHT TRAIN identifies its villains as Nazis, which LADY didn't, neither film is meant to be taken too seriously.

    Despite the fact that it employs carefully crafted models (as did THE LADY VANISHES), rather than CGI special effects, the movie remains an exciting, fast-paced espionage thriller that is the equal to today's over-produced movies of that genre.

    I just wish that, during the final shoot-out with the Nazis, director Reed (or perhaps the film's editor) had thought to show Harrison reloading his revolver.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Rex Harrison
    Nail biter. Keeps you riveted. Really draws you into the story and has some comic relief mixed in as well.
    Published 23 days ago by Hlinker
    3.0 out of 5 stars It tries, but tries too hard
    This story brings back memories of "The Lady Vanishes", but is overcomplicated and is full of very hard to believe events.
    Published 1 month ago by Kenneth L. Johnson
    4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful film much too much like it's earlier version.
    In this war time film a Czech scientist and his daughter, Margaret Lockwood, are desperately trying to escape the Nazi’s who want him to work in their industry, they are helped by... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Graves
    4.0 out of 5 stars Well Made Movie and Interesting too!
    For a movie that was made over 40 years ago, this one can still keep your interest. All the actors are great and the experience of trying to get out of a war zone can be... Read more
    Published 3 months ago by vjo
    2.0 out of 5 stars Stick with Hitchcock
    Not nearly the Hitchcock style movie I believed based on reviews. It must be considered a classic somewhere to get the Criterion collection treatment but it won't be in my... Read more
    Published 5 months ago by thomas dollar
    5.0 out of 5 stars Explains the failure of Wilsonian Diplomacy
    Historical film that captures the state of Europe and the UK at the start of a six year fight with Nazis.
    Published 6 months ago by Gene Heiland
    5.0 out of 5 stars Night Train to Munich is a must see
    On of the best movies on WWII ever made. It is exciting and keeps your attention. Rex Harrison is fantastic.
    Published 6 months ago by Okoboji Swimmer
    4.0 out of 5 stars Rex Harrison's finest hour
    "Night Train to Munich" is a spy movie, mixed in with some comedic undertones at the beginning of the Second World War. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by B. Adducchio
    5.0 out of 5 stars Another great film
    Another great cast; exciting and enjoyable ...... suspenseful .....leading up to WWII, Gestapo stuff and heroic adventure! Rex Harrison is wonderful in this role!
    Published 8 months ago by ann colliver
    5.0 out of 5 stars Good Times
    Been collecting Criterion movies for a while now, and usually my wife is completely uninterested in the films I get from them. This one was different though. This was a great film. Read more
    Published 12 months ago by Christopher Glenn
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    color
    Carolyn,
    The film is in black and white. The "color" presumably refers to supplementary material which includes a video conversation between a couple of film scholars.
    Jul 7, 2010 by Muzzlehatch |  See all 3 posts
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