DIRECTED BY JOHN FRANKNHEIMER/ ARTHUR PENN
MUSIC BY MICHAEL JARRE
Les Films Ariane
Les Productions Artistes Associés
Dear Film Produzione
DIRECTED BY JOHN FRANKNHEIMER/ ARTHUR PENN
MUSIC BY MICHAEL JARRE
Les Films Ariane
Les Productions Artistes Associés
Dear Film Produzione
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
As the Allied forces approach Paris in August 1944, German Colonel Von Waldheim
is desperate to take all of France's greatest paintings to Germany.
He manages to secure a train to transport the valuable art works
even as the chaos of retreat descends upon them.
The French resistance however wants to stop them from stealing their
national treasures but have received orders from London that they are not to be destroyed.
The station master, Labiche, is tasked with scheduling the train
and making it all happen smoothly but he is also part of a dwindling group of
resistance fighters tasked with preventing the theft.
He and others stage an elaborate ruse to keep the train from ever leaving French territory.
Written by garykmcd
Burt Lancaster ...Labiche
Paul Scofield ... Von Waldheim
Jeanne Moreau ... Christine
Suzanne Flon ... Mlle Villard
Michel Simon ... Papa Boule
Wolfgang Preiss ... Herren
Albert Rémy ... Didont (as Albert Remy)
Charles Millot ... Pesquet
Richard Münch ... Von Lubitz (as Richard Munch)
Jacques Marin ... Jacques
Paul Bonifas ... Spinet
Jean Bouchaud ... Schmidt
Donald O'Brien ... Schwartz (as Donal O'Brien)
Jean-Pierre Zola Jean-Pierre Zola ...
Arthur Brauss ... Pilzer (as Art Brauss)
Jean-Claude Bercq ... Major (as Jean-Claude Berco)
Howard Vernon ... Dietrich
Louis Falavigna ... Railroad Worker
Richard Bailey ... Grote
Christian Fuin ... Robert
Helmo Kindermann ... Ordnance Officer
Roger Lumont ... Engineer Officer
Gérard Buhr ... Corporal (as Gerard Buhr)
Christian Rémy ... Tauber (as Christian Remy):
Victor Beaumont ... Bit Part (uncredited)
JJacques Blot ... Hubert (uncredited)
Michel Charrel ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Nick Dimitri ... German Soldier (uncredited)
Max Fromm ... Gestapo Officer (uncredited)
Bernard La Jarrige ... Bernard - Doctor (uncredited)
Jean-Jacques Leconte ... Lieutenant of Retreating Convoy (uncredited)
Daniel Lecourtois ... Priest (uncredited)
Wolfgang Sauer ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Franklin Coen ... (screen story) and
Frank Davis ... (screen story)
Franklin Coen ... (screenplay) and
Frank Davis ... (screenplay)
Rose Valland ... (based upon "Le Front De L'Art" by)
Walter Bernstein ... (uncredited)
Howard Dimsdale ... (uncredited)
Albert Husson ... (French version) (French version) (uncredited)
Nedrick Young ... (uncredited)
Jules Bricken ... producer
Bernard Farrel ... associate producer
Jean Tournier ... (photographed by)
Walter Wottitz ... (photographed by)
Burt Lancaster took a day off during shooting to play golf
when the shooting was about half completed.
On the links, he stepped in a hole and re-aggravated an old knee injury.
In order to compensate for the injury, John Frankenheimer had Lancaster's
character shot in the leg, thus enabling him to limp through the rest of the shooting.
Burt Lancaster performs all of his own stunts in this movie.
Albert Rémy also gets into the act by performing the stunt of
uncoupling the engine from the art train on a real moving train.
The sequence in which Burt Lancaster evades an air attack on his locomotive
by driving at full speed into a tunnel was based on an attack on the Great Western Railway
during the war.
A passenger train was pursued by a German fighter along the main line into Wales.
Reaching speeds estimated at 90 mph (well above the wartime restrictions in place)
the train successfully escaped into the tunnel under the
River Severn in Gloucestershire and stopped beneath the river until the engineer
judged that the danger had passed.
The train was struck several times during the chase but there were no serious injuries.
In real life the museum's paintings were indeed loaded into a train for shipment to Germany,
but fortunately the elaborate deception seen in the movie was not really required.
The train was merely routed onto a ring railway and circled around and around
Paris until the Allies arrived.
Ranked #1 in Trains Magazine's special issue, "The 100 Greatest Train Movies."
The character of Mlle Villard is based on Rose Valland--a French art historian,
member of the French Resistance, captain in the French military and
one of the most decorated women in French history.
As overseer of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris during the German occupation,
she began secretly recording as much as possible about more than
20,000 pieces of art that had been brought to the Jeu de Paume.
She understood German and for four years kept track of where and to whom in Germany
the plundered artworks were shipped. She provided this and also information
about railroad shipments of the art to the French resistance
so that they would not mistakenly blow up the trains loaded with art treasures.
A few weeks before the liberation of Paris, on August 1, 1944,
she learned that the Germans were planning to ship out five last boxcars full of art,
including many of the modern paintings they had hitherto neglected.
She notified her contacts in the Resistance, who prevented the train from leaving Paris.
The movie was inspired by her 1961 non-fiction book
"Le front de l'art: défense des collections françaises, 1939-1945"
("The Art Front: Defence of the French Collections, 1939-1945").
John Frankenheimer said of this film, "I wanted all the realism possible.
There are no tricks in this film.
When trains crash together, they are real trains.
There is no substitute for that kind of reality."
The air raid on the yards was filmed at Gargenville yard, outside Paris.
More than 50 people under Lee Zavitz needed six weeks to plant and wire all the charges,
which were blown up in less than a minute.
This was done by a special arrangement with the French National Railway,
which had been seeking to modernize the yard, but lacked the funds to do so.
Burt Lancaster only speaks twice throughout the last 33 minutes of the film.
His final line, "Didont, get down! Run!" is said a little more than 27 minutes
before the final scene of the movie fades out.
The budget doubled under John Frankenheimer, due to an emphasis on action
and the filming of train wrecks, eventually reaching $6.7 million. United Artists
felt compelled to step in and assert its completion rights,
demanding that principal photography be finished in seven weeks.
Director Arthur Penn oversaw the development of the film and directed
the first day of shooting. The next day was a holiday.
Burt Lancaster, dissatisfied with Penn's conception of the picture,
had him fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer.
Penn envisioned a more intimate film that would muse on the role art played
in the French character, and why they would risk their lives to
save the country's great art from the Nazis.
He did not intend to give much focus to the mechanics of the train operation itself.
Frankenheimer said that in the original script Penn wanted to shoot,
the train did not leave the station until page 90.
The production was shut down briefly while the script was rewritten.
Lancaster told screenwriter Walter Bernstein the day Penn was fired,
"Frankenheimer is a bit of a whore, but he'll do what I want."
What Lancaster wanted was more emphasis on action in order to ensure
that the film was a hit--after the failure of his film The Leopard (1963)
--by appealing to a broader audience.
The engine that crashes into a derailed engine was moving at nearly 60 mph.
The crash was staged in the town of Acquigny, with extensive safety precautions
and special insurance. Only one take was possible, and seven cameras were used.
The engine that is seen from track level as it's derailed
was moving faster than intended.
Three of the five cameras filming the derailment were smashed.
The engines and tanks required for some scenes made so much noise
that "action" and "cut" were signaled by codes on the engines' whistles.
Burt Lancaster was forced by United Artists to make four films for
$150,000 a picture in the 1960s--this film, The Young Savages (1961),
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) and The Hallelujah Trail (1965)--
rather than his normal fee of $750,000 because of cost overruns at his production company,
Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, for which he was personally responsible.
In the final confrontation between Burt Lancaster's Labiche character
and the Nazi colonel played by Paul Scofield, the shooting conditions were so cold
that Scofield reportedly had to talk whilst inhaling,
so clouds of warm breath wouldn't appear on film.
His voice was looped in later.
According to the book the "Variety Movie Guide", this film was "made in
French and English in France.
It was photographed entirely in real exteriors with unlimited access
to old French rolling stock of the last war."
The filmmakers hired a train to carry their equipment from one location to another,
and this is the train we see as the art train in the film.
Burt Lancaster celebrated his 50th birthday during filming.
During the early parts of the movie, and the air raid scene, an armored locomotive can be seen.
This locomotive was a French engine which was "mocked up" with plywood
to resemble a German BP44 series armored locomotive.
In some shots of it, if the viewer looks closely,
they can see the plywood actually moving from vibrations of the locomotive.
Burt Lancaster flew back to the during filming to take part in the March
on Washington on 28 August 1963.
Unlike his character Labiche, Burt Lancaster was actually a great admirer of art
in real life and amassed quite a collection over the years.
The primary steam locomotives in the film are Class 230Bs, #739
(leads the military train Paris to Vaires), 517 (art train until Rive-Reine crash),
855 (rear engine in Rive-Reine crash), and 711 (art train post-crash).
These engines were built from 1901 to 1912, and were nearing the end
of their long service life in 1964.
In the opening sequence, the parade of major artists' names stenciled on packing crates
--GAUGUIN, RENOIR, VAN GOGH, MANET, PICASSO, DEGAS, MIRO, CEZANNE, MATISSE,
BRAQUE, SEURAT, UTRILLO--is immediately followed by the director's credit
for John Frankenheimer.
Opening credits: "We, the makers of this film, wish to pay tribute to those
French railway men, living and dead, whose magnificent spirit
and whose courage inspired this story".
In the German-dubbed version of this movie,
Helmo Kindermann, who can be seen on-screen as Ordnance Officer,
is also the dubbing voice of Paul Scofield.
A sequence showing Paul Scofield's character entering a small church
was originally in the film but has long since disappeared.
Opening credits: The characters portrayed and the names used herein are fictitious,
and any similarity to the name,character or history of any person is
entirely coincidental and unintentional.
The huge railway station bombardment sequence, which only last several minutes,
took four months to set up, with 140 separate explosions and a ton of TNT,
two thousand gallons of gas and twenty two cameras.
Lancaster and director Frankeiheimer even risked their lives when a locomotive
went too far out of the rail, totally out of control.
The Spitfire attack sequence, when the train finds shelter under a tunnel,
nearly cost the lives of director Frankenheimer and the helicopter pilot aboard
which the two took place to put the scene in the can.
Labiche's first name is Paul.
When Arthur Penn was director, Claude Dauphin had a leading role.
Production Code 20567.
The registry number for the art train (post-crash) is: 230B517.
This denotes that it's a class 230B and is briefly visible on a plaque at time code: 1:04.
According to Boxoffice magazine in 1964, filming had been shut down
for several weeks before resuming in April of that year.
Col. Von Waldheim was originally to engage Labiche in a shootout at the film's end.
When Paul Scofield was cast, however, the final scene was re-written
so he would taunt Labiche into killing him.
As the art train is coming to its final stop where von Waldheim will be killed,
we see a closeup of his face.
Prominently placed in the background is a sign on the train,
never shown earlier in the movie, that warns of "danger de mort" ("lethal danger").
It actually refers to the live wires that run above some tracks.
When the armored German locomotive is moving into position in Vaires to haul the art train,
several 1960 era automobiles can be seen in the far background parked on a street.
During the yards bombing scene, several SNCF class 141R steam engines are visible.
These engines were manufactured in USA and Canada and were only delivered
after the end of World War II.
As Pesquet moves the armored locomotive out of the engine shed,
the hissing sound of steam blowing from the cylinder drain cocks can be heard,
but no steam can be seen coming from the cocks.
When Labiche and his men are discovered painting white on the tops of the train cars
carrying the stolen art, a German soldier runs at them firing his machine gun.
The muzzle flashes, but there are no matching machine gun sounds;
only a few single shots and some yelling and the siren are heard.
During the scene where the rail yard at Vaires is being bombed,
the whistle of bombs is heard, but none are seen falling before the explosions
are seen on the ground. Bombs fall fairly slowly,
and are almost always visible before they impact.
Waldheim originally orders the train to depart on the morning of August 3,
but in all later scenes everyone knows that daylight runs are much too dangerous
due to the risk of bombing (which did not suddenly increase on that date).
(at around 35 mins) When Labiche starts to resolve the "problem" with switch 10,
he bends down and reaches in with pliers in his hand.
When he pulls out the obstruction (the German officer's pipe), there are no pliers in his hand.
In the bar, when Papa Boule approaches the counter to pay the bill,
he leans the left hand on the counter.
In the subsequent shot his left hand is by his side, with his thumb in his pocket.
In the switch tower, after the sirens sound, Labiche uses binoculars
to watch Papa Boule engineering the train.
In the next shot, the binoculars disappear.
When the German officer throws his pipe down, it lands on a chair,
spilling ashes onto the chair seat.
The next time we see the pipe, there are no ashes.
(at around 48 mins) When Labiche, Didont and Pesquet argue in the locomotive,
Pesquet says "We will be killed if you don't call Maurice.
" In the next shot, Pesquet is facing the opposite direction (facing outside the window).
Crew or equipment visible
When Paul Scofield has loaded the art train and is called to the hut for a telephone call,
the boom Mic is briefly visible at the top of the frame right
when he says the words "Von Waldeim Speaking".
A camera shadow is seen on the ground and on Labiche's back as he
climbs over the hill and through some trees as he continues to try to sabotage the rail line.
When the Nazi is hit with the coal shovel and thrown from the train,
he lands on a buried landing pad.
The ground moves for a distance around him, in the shape of a rectangle.
Leaves and dust fly up in the air showing the outline of a rectangular landing pad
buried under a layer of ground debris.
Even a nearby bush shakes as though the landing pad is tied to it.
Labiche shouts that "You can't get through" because the switch is set wrong,
but it is a trailing switch (convergence), and hence would move under the
weight of the train to the right position.
When the German officer in the train thinks they've arrived in Germany,
he takes a look at his map and we see Strasbourg (Alsace, France),
the France-Germany border and Baaden-Baaden (Germany).
During German occupation of France, Alsace and Strasbourg were annexed to the German Reich,
i.e. this German military map should have shown a different border (100 km West)
and Strasbourg should have been in Germany.
Gerd von Rundstedt was commanding the Germans in this movie, which took place in August 1944
. In reality, von Rundstedt was fired in June for losing Normandy and
wasn't reinstated until September, when Operation Market-Garden began.
The cab of a moving steam locomotive is noisy, even when there aren't air raid sirens sounding.
Papa Boule should never have been able to hear Labiche shouting at him from 50 feet away.
When the train is to resume its journey from Rive-Reine after the engine failure,
Waldheim knows he must wait for nightfall before it can safely leave. Sunset on August 5, 1944,
would be at 9:20 pm, but he sets its departure time at 7 pm.
Yet, when the train leaves it is dark.
The station name on the roof in large letters, intended to aid aerial navigation
in the pre-war years, would have been painted over in wartime.
Labiche is told the train will depart at 7:00 pm.
As Labiche boards the engine, the sun has set and it is dark.
The sun set after 9:00 pm in August 1944.
At 7:00 pm, there would be over two hours of daylight remaining.
In the final sequence, Labiche is seen unbolting the rails on one side,
only because he is out of time. Yet, when the locomotive with the hostages on it derails,
it stays level because both sides of the track have been loosened.
Whilst some of the German riflemen have ammunition pouches on their belts, n
ot a single one of the soldiers armed with MP40 sub-machine guns has any magazine pouches.
When the art train is rerouted in the wrong direction to return to Paris,
instead of going to Germany, the soldiers on the train should have noticed
the deception when they saw the sun rising behind them,
instead of in front of them in the morning.
They were supposed to be traveling East, but were in fact traveling West.
The first time we see the sign for the station "Rive-Rennes," it reads "Rive-Reine."
When the armored locomotive is blown up during the air raid at Vaires,
one of the drive wheels tumbles toward the camera.
You can see that it is made out of wood.
When the bombing of the railway yard is about to start,
we are shown a close up of Major Von Herren's watch when he is talking on the phone to Deitrich in the switch tower. The watch shows 10 o'clock, but the second hand is not moving, indicating the watch had not been wound.
Once the train starts on its run to Germany, it passes through all the stations
without stopping (except briefly at "St. Avold" for the phone call).
In reality, the steam locomotive would have had to stop occasionally to take on water.
Later, when they orchestrate the train crash, in the sudden stop,
a large amount of water comes sloshing out of the engine,
when in reality because they had not stopped, at best,
the engine would have been very low on water,
because it had not stopped to replenish its water supply.
Acquigny, Calvados, France
Vaires, Seine-et-Marne, France
Saint-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis, France
The post was edited 1 time, last by ethanedwards ().