Customer Reviews


274 Reviews
5 star:
 (179)
4 star:
 (50)
3 star:
 (11)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (27)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankenheimer's Overlooked Classic: The Best Action Film
When Burt Lancaster called on director John Frankeheimer yet again to rescue another picture from another director who had left the project, the call took Frankenheimer to Paris to bring his brilliant black and white extreme depth of focus shots to bear on thought provoking subject matter.
La Bisch, the unwilling resistance man late in WWII (Lancaster) is pitted...
Published on July 7, 2002 by PETER R TALBOT

versus
15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Von Waldheim's express
John Frankenheimer's 1964 film has always been overlooked for some strange reason, while other sub-par WWII movies are hailed as classics. In fairness it probably is over-rated by some, but that doesn't take away the overall general quality of the film itself. There are strong performances throughout, including a quietly restraint Burt Lancaster as rail master Labiche and...
Published on March 2, 2007 by Anthony Hand


‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frankenheimer's Overlooked Classic: The Best Action Film, July 7, 2002
By 
PETER R TALBOT (Harrison, New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
When Burt Lancaster called on director John Frankeheimer yet again to rescue another picture from another director who had left the project, the call took Frankenheimer to Paris to bring his brilliant black and white extreme depth of focus shots to bear on thought provoking subject matter.
La Bisch, the unwilling resistance man late in WWII (Lancaster) is pitted despite his objections against a cultured German general who is attempting to take every painted masterpiece out of Paris that can be found.
Knowing that delays to shipment in the face of the german retreat and allied advance, La Bisch uses both ingenuity and enormous physical effort to attempt to block the movement of a train laden with stolen art, eastbound from Paris.
The plot twists are the stuff of legend, and each twist provokes controversial positions regarding the importance of art and the brevity of human life.
The long shot action scenes in this film are brilliant, and Lancaster, who was injured during filming, performs much of the extraordinary scenes in the movie with a real (not feigned) limp.
Fine ensemble cast, including many of the best French character actors of the time, a serious script saved by brevity from the melodramatic and arguably the best camerawork and editing of any action film in history (you read right) make this film superior to Frankenheimer's other B&W films from the period (e.g., The Manchurian Candidate and even The Birdman of Alcatraz).
The Train belongs in any serious English language cine collection. This is one of the top 100 films of all time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Frankenheimer�s Best, December 2, 2001
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
Fankenheimer is a director's director - something of an icon in contemporary American Film. He has worked with the best, and has made some of the most innovative and intelligent movies of the last forty years. While always a director of "smart" films, he mastered the action-film early in his career and to a certain extent this has over-shadowed his deeper (and darker) side.
On a superficial level "The Train" is the last of the "full-scale" action films. They blow up everything in sight for real, they crash real steam-locomotives, and many of the actors are doing their own stunts. In fact Burt Lancaster not only does all his own stunts, he stands in for other actors too!
But unlike most action-flicks, "The Train" goes deeper. Lancaster plays the French resistance leader asked to stop Nazi Colonel Paul Schofeild from leaving Paris with a train load of paintings. "Let them have the paintings," Lancaster replies. He doesn't see the point in risking anyone's life for a work of art. "But they are the soul of France". And this is where the real interest (and the subtext) starts.
Imagine your house is on fire. You run inside and you can save your favorite pet, or the Van Gogh hanging on the wall. What do you choose? Well that's the thesis behind "The Train" - why are these paintings worth dying for? Why are they worth killing for? (Incidentally Lancaster took a similar position a few years later in "Castle Keep"). Lancaster could care less about the paintings. And Schofeild will kill anyone and anything that tries to stop him leaving with them. Not only is it a clash of cultures, it's a clash about culture. A Nazi kills to save the artwork his own ideology has called degenerate; a partisan kills to save the art he has never wanted to see.
The DVD has an excellent commentary by Frankenheimer. He describes the behind the scenes action, the difficulties and joys of this production, the demolishion of locomotives (and cameras), and the joys of working with Burt Lancaster. And he's very articulate about it. The DVD is also in the original wide-screen aspect, opening up the image considerably.
If you're a fan of the war film or the action genre, The Train is a must have. And if oyu just like good film making, then it's still a must see.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, , ..., July 30, 2000
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
John Frankenheimer's "The Train" is an outstanding Black and White WWII ("action") film from the unforgettable 60's, when much emphasis was placed on good acting and characterization.
Close to the end of the war, while withdrawing, the Nazis attempted to lute famous French museums, and transport to Germany art treasures, hundreds of paintings of world fame - part of France's national identity. Among many popular French performers, such as Michel Simon ("Le diable et les dix commandements") and Jeanne Moreau ("Jules et Jim") - remember ? we've seen her in Beson's "La Femme Nikita") shine America's unforgettable Burt Lancaster as Labiche, the French "cheminot" who opposes England's Paul Scofield, perfectly cast as von Waldheim, the German colonel obsessed with "his mission" to "save" the painting by having them transported by train from Paris to Berlin.
Real life adventure with a believable plot, attention to details, image, dialogues, and ever growing tension until the final "denouement". It's the same director who gave us the more recent "Ronin" (filmed in France), and classics, such as "Seven Days in May" (also with Burt Lancaster) and "The Manchurian Candidate", and, if want to see more of Paul Scofield, consider watching one more time, Fred Zinneman's "A Man of All Seasons".
Very good DVD rendition of a truly great film from John Frankenheimer !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all-time best, March 14, 2000
By 
Harvey Pekar (Rocky River, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
This DVD version of "The Train" includes all of the little perks that make watching a movie at home worthwile. Fans of both Frankenheimer and Lancaster will be very pleased with this edition as it shines in widescreen, every frame looking as though it was shot recently. This film offers the direction of Frankenheimer during his most productive and successful years. Fans of the director's "Ronin" will enjoy the realistic stuntwork and lack of special-FX. Any movie buff that has never experienced Frankenheimer's style will be surprised at how it differs from similar films of the era, and how modern it feels. The audio commentary by the director is also a huge plus for any film buffs. This film comes highly recommended to fans of the film and newcomers alike.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Train, June 19, 2004
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
Is a work of art worth a human life?
We are near the end of World War II. It's August 2, 1944, the "1511th day of German occupation" of Paris. German Colonel von Waldheim (Paul Scofield) enters a dark museum and turns a spotlight on a painting. He stares at it with the eyes of a lover beholding his best beloved. He turns another spotlight on another painting. The Hun is humanized, and we sympathize with his quiet passion.
It comes as a bit of a shock when he announces that he is taking the paintings, hundreds of Miros and Picassos and Matisses and others, with him when the Germans evacuate Paris. A resistance group, led by railroad worker Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster), is enlisted to stop them. Labiche initially refuses. It's one thing to blow up a train, dangerous enough - it's another to stop a train without damaging what's inside it. National heritage or not, men will die. There are more important targets than a train filled with art. Things change, though, and eventually Labiche and the remnants of his resistance group find themselves trying the impossible.
I've always been a little leery of Burt Lancaster. Maybe I was traumatized by viewing THE RAINMAKER or ELMER GANTRY at a young and impressionable age. He sometimes seems all horse teeth and braying charm and dis-tinct e-nunc-ee-a-shun. Not so here. In THE TRAIN he's restrained and natural and completely convincing. Scofield is equally strong as his brutal nemesis.
Sometimes the extras on a dvd aren't worth the bother, but I loved the director's commentary by the late John Frankenheimer. It was like taking a course in the art of film making.
Frankenheimer tells us he was trying to give the movie a realistic feel, which I understood before listening to the commentary track but didn't really understand how he went about it. One trick he used was to open the f-stop on the camera and keep everything in focus, something that would have been impossible if THE TRAIN wasn't shot in black and white. Everything is kept in focus and he keeps the background action busy and interesting.
Frankenheimer is an unabashed fan of Burt Lancaster, with whom he made five movies. Not only does Lancaster do all his own stunts in this one, including a dangerous backwards fall off of a moving train, he even fills in as a stunt double for another actor. The original stuntman made a fall off a roof look like an "olympic jump," and `realism' was the keyword in this one. Lancaster did take a nice tumble off the tiles, but you've got to wonder about the wisdom of it all. Lancaster was injured during the filming of THE TRAIN; on his first day off in weeks he played a round of golf and twisted his knee when he stepped into a hole. His right knee swelled up `like a basketball.' Frankenheimer shot Labiche in the leg halfway through the movie to explain the limp.
The only phony movie aspect to this movie is the dubbed voices of some of the French actors. You can't hide dubbing very well, and Frankenheimer doesn't have much to say about it. I wouldn't knock a star or even a half-star off because of it. This is a tremendously entertaining film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Action Film Focuses on the Price of War, April 12, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Train [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Director John Frankenheimer's THE TRAIN was released in 1965. Set in the final days of Nazi occupied Paris during the WWII it tells a tale of how the French Resistance attempted to stop a train carrying a cargo of paintings from entering into Germany. The paintings had been held in a museum in Paris throughout the German occupation. These were not works by the old masters but instead were works painted by the impressionist and post impressionist artists whose paintings had been labeled degenerate by Nazi Germany. Though labeled degenerate or depraved by the Nazis these paintings had not been destroyed. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to German Colonel von Waldheim played by Paul Scofield. At first he appears to be a sympathetic character who allowed the museum curator Miss Villard to remain in charge of these paintings. She thanks him for not removing her and expresses that she detects his appreciation for the paintings after he admits to her that as a German officer he should not have been moved by degenerate art. When German soldiers come into the museum and crate all the paintings for railway shipment to Germany it is evident that the paintings have a monetary value to the Nazis if not an aesthetic one. Colonel von Waldheim uses this point to procure a military train. Miss Villard seeks out the help of the French Resistance namely Labiche, a railway yardmaster, played by Burt Lancaster to stop the train. Labiche is at first disinterested because the efforts of the Resistance should be aimed at military targets. However, Villard pleads that the paintings are part of the French culture and part of France itself and should never leave the country. Labiche gives in and the story focuses on the determination of Labiche and German Colonel von Waldheim to thwart each other's attempts from accomplishing their tasks. This is one of Burt Lancaster's greatest performances demonstrating his athletic abilities and his intuitive sense of histrionics to create a visual screen presence of pure determination to stop an equally determined foe who represents a [badness] gone beyond the limits of an already [horrible] Nazi regime. Paul Scofield's performance is the complete opposite but equally determined played with a strange and enigmatic detachment. As the movie progresses we see that von Waldheim's [character] degenerates even though he remains oblivious to his own shortcomings as a human being. The more obstacles that Labiche puts in the way of the train we see von Waldheim respond with firing squads for all those that assist Labiche. Colonel von Waldheim has stolen and transports the paintings under the pretense that they a resource to the Reich. In fact von Waldheim has convinced himself that he alone or only a man like him is capable of appreciating such paintings. Air raids, derailments, staged locomotive crashes, diversions, detours and so on hamper the train ever mile on its way to Germany. Near the end of the movie von Waldheim puts French hostages along the walkways of the locomotive to stop Labiche from blowing up the tracks and engine. ... Composer Maurice Jarre's score ends the film on a melancholy note of reflection using the dynamic melody he created for the French Resistance now played on a muted harmonica in a bittersweet comment on the futility of war. ... Director John Frankenheimer created this epic with such precision that you just can not appreciate the labors of all the technicians and actors went into making this film. John Frankenheimer is one of my favorite directors. He's way up there on the list. This film is a cinematic achievement of storytelling, action and great ... soul searching.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lancaster at his best, August 12, 2006
By 
T O'Brien (Chicago, Il United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
The Train is a great adventure/action story set during WWII as the Allies edge ever closer to Paris and a retreating German army. Seeing that the advancing Allies will capture a museum full of famous paintings, German Colonel von Waldheim packs them all up and puts them on a train headed for Germany before the priceless paintings are captured. At the same time, a resistance leader, Paul Labiche, is given the order to delay the train enough so that it can be overtaken. What follows is a cat and mouse game as von Waldheim will stop at nothing to get his train to safety while Labiche throws obstacle after obstacle in his path. Pure and simple, this is a great movie. The action scenes are amazing, especially considering there was no CGI back in 1964. The last 30 minutes are incredibly tense, similar to Bridge on the River Kwai, and will have you on the edge of your seat. Don't miss The Train, no pun intended.

In a career that featured many great performances, Burt Lancaster's Paul Labiche stands out as one of his best. Resistance fighter Labiche at first doesn't want to tackle this mission, but he does anyway. He may not understand why he should; he does it because its HIS mission. Paul Scofield is equally as good as Colonel von Waldheim, the German colonel who won't let anything stop his train and becomes obsessed with topping Labiche. Jeanne Moreau turns in a fine performance as Christine, the hotel manager who hides Labiche against all her gut feelings. The movie also features Suzanne Flon, Michel Simon, a great role for WWII regular Wolfgang Preiss, Albert Remy, Charles Millot, and Jacques Marin. The DVD is well worth a purchase, featuring the movie in a great-looking widescreen presentation (the black and white fits perfectly with the story), a good commentary track from director John Frankenheimer, an 8-page booklet on the movie, a music only track, and a 4-minute theatrical trailer. All in all, with a great performance from Lancaster, who did his own stunts, and good direction from Frankenheimer, The Train is a can't miss movie!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST ACTION FILMS EVER! - DON'T MISS IT!, March 17, 2003
By 
Paulo Leite (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
This is a bona fide classic! One of the most influential action movies ever. Watch it and you'll see the elments that were later used in action films like Die Hard, etc.
Although it is a little bit overlooked today, it remains a one [heck] of a ride! Lancaster plays a french railroad employee who works for the resistence. He and his group of three men must do anything to stop a train loaded with art treasures (Picassos, Matisses, Renoirs, Monets - no less) which is heading to Germany, according to the plans of a german Colonel who happens to love art. Stopping a train is easy - as they all discover. The problem is the art treasures who cannot be simply blown up (and that is a problem the allied planes do no know of).
So, it is up to a small group of men to keep the train out of both nazis and allies power - a difficult task in the last days of WW2.
The story meets many exciting complications and climaxes but the real catch is the strong performances from the two leads (Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield) who fight each other in a battle of wills we'll rarely see again. Their antagonistic missions are the key element in a film full of great moments.
The black and white cinematography by Jean Tournier is great and the DVD do it justice. Keep in mind that this is a film by John Frankenheimmer - the great director who brought us movies like "The Manchurian Candidate", "Birdman of Alcatraz", and "The French Connection".
The DVD also has a great commentary by the director himself and an alternate "music-only" audio track for the Maurice Jarre's music soundtrack. This is a true great film. The only minus is the lack of a new dolby 5.1 sound mix - in a film like this, it would sure be a great thing! Anyway, the Dolby original Mono is solid enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII Drama-Action at its best, November 13, 2006
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
Mr. Lancaster plays a French train engine expert during the last days of Nazi occupation of France. He helps the resistance but as the war comes to the end is reluctant to take chances. Circumstances and comrades will not, however, allow him to grow complacent and he is forced to make his choice clear. He becomes directly involved in an effort to stop of train loaded with the "heritage of France" from escaping to Germany. Mr. Lancaster is perfect for the role of tough determination and tenacity in the face of impossible odds. The musical score is stirring. The action unabating yet still providing time for drama and character development. This is one you will want to watch again and again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Responsible technology, October 4, 2000
By 
Robert Hawkes (Cleveland Heights, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Train (DVD)
This is what the DVD technology is for: restoration of the whole image, with improvements over old VHS picture. This is one of the great films of its type and era. It's wonderful to be able to see all of it, and to see it in such clarity. The director's commentary option is fun and informative and aimed at giving a deeper appreciation not only of this film but of the art of film generally. Buying this DVD is a sound investment in a responsibly produced medium through which to enjoy a great work of art over and over again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 228 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Train
Train by Arthur Penn
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.