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Brute Force: John Frankenheimer’s The Train

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Brute Force: John Frankenheimer’s The Train

On Wednesday, February 28 at 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies is showing one of the most influential yet least-appreciated great movies, John Frankenheimer’s The Train (1964), starring Paul Scofield as a Nazi trying to steal a trainload of great paintings and Burt Lancaster as the French resistance fighter trying to stop him. It’s the last great black-and-white adventure movie, and one of the most elegant, innovative and influential action pictures ever made. In an attempt to convince you to see this incredible film, here’s my 30th anniversary appreciation over at the Dallas Observer:

“A huge, roiling, clanking, screeching, rumbling hulk of mayhem that seizes you from frame one and never lets go, the film takes such visible delight in the image of small, desperate men blowing huge things sky-high that it amounts to the very first Joel Silver picture. After sitting through it, it’s difficult to watch heavy-hardware action movies like The Terminator, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, Under Siege, and Speed without remembering that Frankenheimer led American cinema into this particular pop culture free-fire zone first—and with considerably more intelligence and insight.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Also recommended: Lawrence Russell’s thoughtful 2000 Culture Court article. “The Train is violent, but violence is not its vocation,” he writes. “Violence exists as a detail in the industrial landscape, where humans are cultured by their machines and the iron horse they ride.”