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The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (AKA The Paris Express)
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|Genre||Mystery & Suspense|
|Format||NTSC, Subtitled, Full Screen|
|Contributor||Marta Toren, Marius Goring, Harold French, Lucie Mannheim, Claude Rains, Herbert Lom, Felix Aylmer, Anouk Aimee, Ferdy Mayne See more|
|Runtime||1 hour and 20 minutes|
DVD edition. Based on a novel by Georges Simenon, this exciting tale of crime, passion, betrayal, and murder stars Claude Rains as Kees Popinga, an honest, mild-mannered clerk at a Dutch trading company who discovers that his employer has been embezzling money to support his mistress (Märta Torén). When his boss ends up dead, Popinga finds himself on the run with the cash, the girl, and the police in hot pursuit. With Herbert Lom, Marius Goring. AKA: "The Paris Express." 83 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English; Subtitles: English.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 0.7 x 7.5 x 5.4 inches; 2.89 Ounces
- Director : Harold French
- Media Format : NTSC, Subtitled, Full Screen
- Run time : 1 hour and 20 minutes
- Release date : June 8, 2018
- Actors : Claude Rains, Marta Toren, Marius Goring, Herbert Lom, Anouk Aimee
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Classicflix
- ASIN : B07CG1R3HX
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Let me describe what I mean by that. [spoiler alert] Here is the plot of the film: Claude Rains' character finds out his boss is stealing from him; boss then dies; Claude Rains steals some money for himself; Claude Rains goes to Paris; Claude Rains goes out to dinner and dances with a lady; lady dies. The END.
I mean.... that's it. That's pretty much the whole plot. I was watching the film and I was like.... Huh?? That's all there is to it?? Did somebody forget to include dramatic interactions, conflict, tension, character development, suspense, and a resolution?
Anyway, as far as strengths go, there are a few: Claude Rains' acting is uniformly excellent; Herbert Lom gives one of the best performances I've seen him do, but he's only around for just a couple of minutes; Marta Toren is uncommonly beautiful, and she's a fine actress; and there are some good location shots in Holland and in Paris. But that kind of sums it up, as far as the good points go. And oh yes, the French police inspector, played very well by Marius Goring, is a pretty cool character. I thought for sure that he was a con artist, not a real policeman. But he makes a strong impression with his sly and witty performance.
But the problem is that there doesn't seem to be any heart, or core, to the movie. Nothing really happens. There is a romantic scene of a tipsy Claude Rains dancing with the lovely Marta Toren. And there is some tension between Claude Rains and Marta Toren's cronies over the stolen money, which Rains has hidden. But even that concealed loot is found right away by the police. There is simply no central thematic structure to the movie. They could have simply called the film: "Claude Rains Has Dinner And Goes Dancing".
Maybe I expected too much, and maybe I need to watch the movie again. I don't know. But as it is, this film left me wanting some kind of substance or meaningful content. it's like eating a hamburger with no patty.... just a couple of buns.
I can't honestly recommend this film, unless you are a big fan of Claude Rains, or you've got a passion for trains. Otherwise, we're looking at a very low three stars.
The film is set in the Dutch city of Groningen and in Paris. The main character, Kees Popinga, played by Claude Rains, loves to watch trains as they pass through town. but he never goes anywhere. Popinga has worked for 18 years as the chief bookkeeper for a large trading firm and lives a quiet, honest, dull life with his wife and two children. When it develops that Popinga's employer has been stealing from the firm to support a Parisian mistress, resulting in the loss of Popinga's savings, something snaps in the clerk. He has a fight with his boss and thinks he has killed him. He steals a briefcase full of money and takes the late train to Paris where he meets the Parisian detective, Lucas, (Marius Goring) who has been sent to investigate the firm and who has found Popinga's books in order. The unfortunate Popinga, in search of passion in an uneventful life, hooks up with the femme fatale Michelle (Marta Toren) who earlier had turned his boss' head with similar disastrous results. Lucas tries to save Popinga from himself.
This taut film shows the dangers of a dull, passionless, overly-respectable life. Rains, Goring, and Toren capture and develop the characters they play over the film's short 82 minute length. The movie shows some of the beauties and romance of Paris, as Popinga for a brief moment feels the enchantment of the city. I particularly enjoyed the many scenes of trains throughout the film and the development of the train as a symbol of a certain lack in life. I was glad to find this suspenseful, thoughtful, and little-known film.
This restoration by ClassicFlix is good, not quite great, but then again, maybe the source material was not up to par, either. The Technicolor leans to the red. The faces of the actors look flushed much of the time. During the first reel, the audio and video are not synched (and it happens again later in the movie), thus the voices do not match the lips, almost making this look like a dubbed foreign film.
The story about a heretofore honest bookkeeper (Rains) who steals a large sum of money from his firm (he actually justifies his theft in his own mind) in Holland and flees to Paris one step ahead of the police is quite suspenseful and thrilling. It's not quite in the league of Hitchcock, but it is most entertaining, which is why we keep watching the classics.
Top reviews from other countries
The Metrodome DVD from Great Britain is a vivid and colorful transfer in its proper 1.33 aspect ratio.
The quality of the DVD is very good. Unfortunately there are no subtitle options, but the dialogue is not too difficult to understand, even if English is not your mother tongue, like with me.
I'm sure I'll watch this movie again in the future.