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THE TRAIN - HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON

Twilight Time

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#41 of 51 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic

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Posted July 13 2014 - 11:32 AM

No comparison. Monuments Men just didn't work as a well-crated story (and with too much preaching). Just the plot points - save the art - were similar. But The Train also pulled that off better by having the guy that rescues it someone who didn't even have the same aesthetic as the Nazi who was stealing it. Brilliant.



#42 of 51 OFFLINE   Paul Rossen

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Posted July 13 2014 - 03:40 PM

Enjoyed THE TRAIN even though I've seen it many times before, including when it was first released. I always enjoy Nick and team's commentary track. But as regards their comments about the scene showing Lancaster getting shot in the leg to get round his knee injury; surely the fact that he is running normally in the scene before being shot means it must have been filmed later, after principal photography had finished - when his knee had healed?Mulling over whether to get THE BLUE MAX next!

THE BLUE MAX has never looked better.  And that includes it's first run Roadshow engagement in NY back in the day...



#43 of 51 OFFLINE   Kyrsten Brad

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Posted July 18 2014 - 10:27 AM

LQA (Low Quantity Alert) for "The Train". As of 18 July less than 250 remain.

#44 of 51 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 27 2014 - 08:40 AM

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I am a little late to this party.  This forum keeps me busy.  Often I am 

reviewing products or forced to watch movies that I may not particularly

have picked to view, but am forced to when a studio sends me something

to review.

 

In other words, it's rare that I get the opportunity to watch a film that

I really want to see.

 

Today, I took that opportunity.  I started my morning watching Witness

for the Prosecution for the very first time.  I followed that viewing up with

The Train.   Again, a film I never saw before and for which I am experiencing

for the first time on Blu-ray.

 

If you could see me now, sitting in front of my desktop computer as I type

this, you would notice a huge smile on my face.  I have discovered some 

truly extraordinary films today -- and I am a bit embarrassed that it has taken

me so long to see these classics.

 

There's a scene early on in The Train where where the character of Papa

Boule is told "...in matters of culture you are sadly deficient."   I can relate

to that as far as my knowledge of classic film.  

 

I have told this story before....growing up, many of the classic films I watched

were those that I happened to catch on television via the NYC Channel 7 4:30 movie.

The stuff I watched was mostly popular science fiction or comedy -- or whatever my

teenage short attention span could tolerate.  In my early 20s, while working at a local

video store, I attempted to expand my knowledge of classic film by watching old movies

on VHS, but ultimately I was turned off by the poor quality of the video itself.  It wasn't

until DVD and Blu-ray, where studios took a sincere interest in provided immaculate

presentations of their product in proper aspect ratio, that I found a renewed interest in

discovering these films.

 

...which brings me back to The Train...

 

What an utterly remarkable film and presentation this is from the folks at Twilight Time.

First and foremost, the film is just fantastic.  I am already a huge Burt Lancaster fan from

watching movies like Twilight's Last Gleaming and From Here To Eternity.  To see Burt in this

film is a pleasure in itself.  

 

The other thing that really struck a chord with me is the fact that this is based on a true

story.  As I watched the first few minutes of The Train as Von Waldheim (spectacularly

played by Paul Scofield) talks with the museum curator about taking the museum artwork,

I felt as if I had seen this all before.  Then I remembered the film Monument Men.  It's basically

the same story.  Thing is, I hated Monument Men.  I bought it and turned it off after an hour

because it felt so bland.   Watching The Train, I found a sense of excitement and wonderment

about the actual historic events the film portrays -- something which is totally lacking in

Clooney's film.

 

I admit I know nothing about the events surrounding the attempts to stop the Nazis from

stealing priceless paintings from the French at the end of WWII.  I am very happy that films

have been made to shed light on these events.   That being said, I don't know how closely

The Train sticks to the facts, but I was simply won over by its story of how the French Resistance

were able to take a German bound train and return it full-circle back to France by changing 

the station names.  As far-fetched as it sounds, I think the film presented enough believability

with everything else that it made such an act seem plausible.

 

....and who knows...maybe some of what is depicted actually happened.  I'd like to know.

 

One of the things I really cherish about owning this release is the audio commentary with

Film Historians Paul Seydor, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman.  Now, I don't particularly like to 

name drop, but I have met Nick and Julie and spent a carefree afternoon with them.  They 

are both wonderful people.  Julie Kirgo seems like salt of the earth.  I had absolutely no 

idea that they were both film historians. And, I'm sorry to say, I only had the opportunity to 

listen to portions of the commentary because I had no time to watch this film twice.  I really

want to revisit this film just for the commentary, because I was very excited about Nick and

Julie being part of this.  As I jumped through a few choice scenes, I was astounded by how

much knowledge was being shared by the three commentators.  One of the things that was

brought out several times was how genuine a film like The Train is, compared to films of today.  

I agree with Julie Kirgo when she says that no matter how good CGI is, it takes her totally out

of the film.  I have that problem all the time.  Today's films are no longer believable.   It's one

of the reasons why I choose to watch more classic films than new ones.  Ask me what is playing

in the theater and I generally won't know.

 

It was also very interesting to listen to Julie, Paul and Nick talk about Lancaster doing most of

his own stunt work and the fact that he was a circus acrobatic before becoming an actor.  Part

of the reason you believe a film like The Train, is because the bodily damage that Lancaster endures

is something that is humanly possible -- unlike in today's films where characters jump out of a 

10-story window and somehow survive the fall.   There's something remarkable about watching 

The Train for the fact that it's this huge action film that is done with real trains (as opposed to 

miniatures), real explosions, and stunt work completely absent of green screen support.  As our

commentators remind us, this was an era of filmmaking that didn't depend on huge spectacle

endings to make its story complete.  

 

I suppose what I am trying to say here is that if I took anything away from watching The Train is

that I really despise the manner in which films are made today.  Furthermore, there just aren't many

real actors anymore that can live up to the likes of Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield.

 

The transfer is fantastic.  I was fooled for a moment by the MGM logo thinking that the film might

be in color, but I am never disappointed by a beautiful black and white presentation.  In fact, I don't

think this film would have worked nearly as well if shot in color.

 

I am really beginning to have the same appreciation for films like The Train as the museum curator

had about the artwork the Germans were about to take.  These films are obviously artwork that need

to be protected and preserved so people like myself can continue to discover and enjoy them.  I am

so happy that distributors like Twilight Time and Kino are getting a lot of these smaller films out on 

Blu-ray.  I also understand the anger from fans when presentations are sometimes less than perfect

(which is certainly not the case here).

 

I think The Train stands as one of Twilight Time's most ambitious releases and it certainly is one of

the most prized films in my collection.


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#45 of 51 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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Posted July 27 2014 - 08:57 AM

That's great, Ron!   :thumbsup: 



#46 of 51 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted July 27 2014 - 09:00 AM

Boy, does that post have a lot to say.

 

It's almost like ... a good commentary! :)

 

I seem to be following Ron around the board this morning, with Witness for the Prosecution and now The Train.  But this is one I haven't seen, and you know what?  It's coming off the shelf and going right on top of the stack.  If I get enough other things done that need to be done today, it will be watched tonight.



#47 of 51 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted July 27 2014 - 09:01 AM

Ron,

 

The Train has been one of my favorites since I watched it in a movie theater when I was little Crawdaddy.  Every year, I try to watch it at least once.  This year, I've actually watched it three times.  I bought the HD digital copy from Vudu.  Should have known that would be the icing on the cake for a BD release.  As expected, that release did come and ended up watching the BD twice.  First time, I watched it with Julie and Nick's audio commentary as I know the film by heart.  Then I watched it again with no commentary.  Again, a great movie with film methods used on it that they don't even use any longer.


Crawdaddy

 

Blu-ray Preorder Listing

 


#48 of 51 ONLINE   John Hermes

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Posted July 27 2014 - 10:12 AM

Ron,

 

The Train has been one of my favorites since I watched it in a movie theater when I was little Crawdaddy.  Every year, I try to watch it at least once.  This year, I've actually watched it three times.  I bought the HD digital copy from Vudu.  Should have known that would be the icing on the cake for a BD release.  As expected, that release did come and ended up watching the BD twice.  First time, I watched it with Julie and Nick's audio commentary as I know the film by heart.  Then I watched it again with no commentary.  Again, a great movie with film methods used on it that they don't even use any longer.

Robert, how about buying the HD digital copy of The Sons Of Katie Elder on Vudu, so we can be sure it will then come out on Blu-ray?!  :)



#49 of 51 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted July 27 2014 - 12:21 PM

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You know, for many of us who are intimately familiar with these films before they come to Blu-ray, we miss some of the excitement of seeing something wonderful and classic for the first time, but I can say that reading Ron's reactions today to Witness for the Prosecution and The Train has enabled me to share his thrills while remembering what it was like for me to experience these movies for the first time.

 

If anyone ever wonders why forums like HTF are so important, that's about the best answer I can give naming ONE reason why they are. (There are many other reasons why, of course, but reading these thoughts has certainly made my day today.)



#50 of 51 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted July 27 2014 - 04:33 PM

Just watched.  Magnificent.  I look forward to my next twenty times.



#51 of 51 ONLINE   ahollis

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Posted July 27 2014 - 07:51 PM

Just watched. Magnificent. I look forward to my next twenty times.

Really that good? I missed it in the Theatres but knowing your likes I'll pre order it.
"Get a director and a writer and leave them alone. That`s how the best pictures get made" - William "Wild Bill" Wellman






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