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Opinions about Lancaster's "The Train"


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#1 of 25 haroldS

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Posted July 16 2008 - 10:56 AM

I looked elsewhere in the Forum, but I couldn't find any opinions about this Frankenheimer directed film. It seems to have got universally good reviews, but I would be interested in the views of other Forum members. But then again, I enjoyed Clement's "Is Paris Burning?"

As I wrote this Thread, I noticed that, more and more, I am identifying a film, with the director, rather then the actor(s).

#2 of 25 Richard--W

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Posted July 16 2008 - 06:01 PM

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#3 of 25 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 16 2008 - 10:52 PM

A great film and one of my favorite Lancaster/Frankenheimer films. Shot on location in Europe with Lancaster being the only American actor in the cast. Lancaster performed many of his stunts in this film and even hurt his leg during filming so Frankenheimer was able to bring such an injury into the film.





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#4 of 25 Haggai

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Posted July 17 2008 - 03:41 AM

One of my favorites too. I wish the DVD had been at least 16X9 enhanced, which it isn't, but it's definitely worth watching.

#5 of 25 Brandon Conway

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Posted July 17 2008 - 03:58 AM

Great movie about the conflict between preserving individual life vs. preserving cultural heritage. Both have great value, but what does it mean to sacrifice one for the other since the value of each is in some way informed by the other?

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#6 of 25 Ernest

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Posted July 17 2008 - 08:46 AM

The Train is a terrific movie and one of Burt's best. During the filming he tore his knee and the script was changed to provide for the limp. He is not faking the injury and after the movie he had surgery to repair the tear.

Unfortunately, the movie is in black & white and the DVD is 4x3 letterbox, not anamorphic widescreen.

#7 of 25 Edwin-S

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Posted July 17 2008 - 09:36 AM

Why is it unfortunate that the film is in black and white? It looks like it was originally shot that way.

I don't remember ever seeing the film, but it looks interesting. I was always waiting for an anamorphic version to be released, but it never happened.

Lancaster had the original director fired off of this picture. Is that a common occurence in the film industry? I thought the director would be a superior to the actors.
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#8 of 25 AL KUENSTER

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Posted July 17 2008 - 11:01 AM

I have seen the laserdisc of this movie and it was black & white and letterboxed
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#9 of 25 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 17 2008 - 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S
Why is it unfortunate that the film is in black and white? It looks like it was originally shot that way.

I don't remember ever seeing the film, but it looks interesting. I was always waiting for an anamorphic version to be released, but it never happened.

Lancaster had the original director fired off of this picture. Is that a common occurence in the film industry? I thought the director would be a superior to the actors.
It's common when you're one of the most powerful actors in the business and the reason why the project was greenlighted is because of you. Lancaster was one of the first actors to have his own production company plus he did a lot of films for United Artists, so he had some power with them. Lancaster had a reputation of being very professional, but like many great actors he could be difficult for some directors regarding artistic interpretation. Arthur Penn a Broadway director, only directed two films up to that point so Lancaster had him replaced with a director he trusted and worked with before in three previously directed Frankenheimer films.

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#10 of 25 george kaplan

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Posted July 17 2008 - 02:57 PM

I'll ditto most of the responses - great movie!
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#11 of 25 Edwin-S

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Posted July 17 2008 - 05:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
It's common when you're one of the most powerful actors in the business and the reason why the project was greenlighted is because of you. Lancaster was one of the first actors to have his own production company plus he did a lot of films for United Artists, so he had some power with them. Lancaster had a reputation of being very professional, but like many great actors he could be difficult for some directors regarding artistic interpretation. Arthur Penn a Broadway director, only directed two films up to that point so Lancaster had him replaced with a director he trusted and worked with before in three previously directed Frankenheimer films.

Thanks for the explanation. It clears things up.

I'll have to see if I can still rent the film from the local shop. As an ex-railroader, any film that allows me to see what they do to real trains is a going to be a winner with me.
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#12 of 25 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 17 2008 - 05:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S
Thanks for the explanation. It clears things up.

I'll have to see if I can still rent the film from the local shop. As an ex-railroader, any film that allows me to see what they do to real trains is a going to be a winner with me.
By the way, Frankenheimer's commentary on this disc is one of the best I've heard from any director. Very informative.

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#13 of 25 Bruce Morrison

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Posted July 17 2008 - 08:40 PM

As well as not being anamorphic, the other problem with the current DVD is the very poor audio quality. The dialogue sounds thin and harsh - not at all how it should sound (I've seen this film many times in the cinema and I also still have the laserdisc for comparison). Unfortunately, something went very wrong with the DVD remastering.

But it's a great film and, despite the DVD's technical shortcomings, it's still worth getting if you can find it at a low price. I'd love Sony to do it on Blu-ray, but sadly that's probably a few years away.
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#14 of 25 John Hodson

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Posted July 17 2008 - 09:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
By the way, Frankenheimer's commentary on this disc is one of the best I've heard from any director. Very informative.

Not on the R2 or R4 discs of the film, BTW.
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#15 of 25 AdrianTurner

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Posted July 17 2008 - 10:09 PM

I have always loved The Train, though on my last viewing I did think the core theme - is a human life worth more than a work of art? - was sledge-hammered home. I am also always struck by how insistently Frankenheimer pays tribute to Renoir's La Bete Humaine, if not Lang's rather crude remake.

#16 of 25 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 18 2008 - 06:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
Not on the R2 or R4 discs of the film, BTW.
I assume we were talking about the Region 1 release without having to say so.





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#17 of 25 John Hodson

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Posted July 18 2008 - 07:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
I assume we were talking about the Region 1 release without having to say so.

I assumed that you assumed; that was just for the benefit of HTF'ers outside of the US, who may have assumed that R2/R4 discs are the same.

It is, as I've pointed out, a false assumption. Posted Image
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#18 of 25 AL KUENSTER

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Posted July 18 2008 - 07:46 AM

I see The Train is in the Frankenheimer collection box set, anyone know if the film is anamorphic or full screen?
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#19 of 25 Ernest

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Posted July 18 2008 - 08:44 AM

When I said it was unfortunate The Train, like From Here to Eternity were shot in B&W I was not implying the DVD should be colorized. If a movie is shot in B&W we have to live with it whether we like it or not. If we don't like it don't buy the DVD. Unless its a terrific movie like The Train or From Here to Eternity I don't buy them.

For monetary reasons the studios did not spend the money to film many terrific older movies in color. Colorization is not the answer. Movies shot in B&W should remain in B&W.

#20 of 25 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 18 2008 - 11:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AL KUENSTER
I see The Train is in the Frankenheimer collection box set, anyone know if the film is anamorphic or full screen?
It is non-anamorphic 1.66:1 ratio. It's exactly the same disc that came out in 1999. I just watched it again with the Frankenheimer commentary and he will give you reasons why Lancaster was so important to this film. Also, I agree with Frankenheimer that filming this movie in black and white was the better choice than filming it in color.

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