Friday, August 3, 2007

A Spy Film that Could Have Been Better

Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich is a twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight, combining comedy, romance, and thrills with the greatest of ease. Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, Night Train takes viewers on a World War II-era journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison. This captivating, long-overlooked adventure - which features Paul Henreid and clever screenplay by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, best known for writing Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes - is a deftly concocted spy game that could give the master of suspense a run for his money.

Title: Night Train to Munich
Release: December 29, 1940
Genre: Drama/ Thriller- War
MPAA Rating: N/A
Writer: Gordon Wellesley, Sidney Gilliat, & Frank Launder
Director: Carol Reed
Music By: Louis Levy
Produced By: Edward Black
Distributed By: Twentieth Century Productions Ltd.
Run Time: 90 minutes

I had never even heard of Night Train to Munich before I discovered that a very young Rex Harrison was in it early in his career. He still has that quality about him in this movie as he does in his later ones but I just wasn’t that impressed with Night Train. It’s kind of a WWII story but it just seemed to drag on to me and you aren’t really allowed to get to know the characters before they’re thrust on you. I can’t for the life of me tell you why the Germans wanted Anna’s father besides the fact that he’s some kind of scientist. Before I sat down and looked up what little I could find about the film, I couldn’t even recall anyone’s name except Harrison’s character (Dickie Randall) and that was only because it was said a couple of times.

The only reason I found Night Train bearable was because of Rex Harrison and the "comic relief" that showed up nearly at the end of the picture in the form of Charters (Basil Radford) and Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) who had appeared in Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. If they had appeared sooner they could have saved this picture for me. As it stands, it’s a forgettable film that probably could have been much better.

~ I watched VHS version of Night Train to Munich and I couldn’t find much of anything online about the movie itself or a trailer for that matter.

Find Night Train Online

Related Reviews
Rex Harrison - Dickie Randall/ Gus Bennett
A Damned Serious Business: My Life in Comedy by Rex Harrison
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)- Capt. Daniel Gregg
Cleopatra (1963)- Julius Caesar
My Fair Lady (1964)- Professor Henry Higgins
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)- Pope Julius II
Doctor Dolittle (1967)- Dr. John Dolittle
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)- Grand Duke Cyril Romanov

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy your reviews, esp. the ones for older movies like this. It's rare person who appreciates them like you!



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