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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 1965 BAFTAs Best Film From Any Source Nominees • The Train

The Train

“A painting means as much to you as a string of pearls to an ape.”

In the early 1960s, French author Rose Valland pitched the idea for The Train to producer Jules Bricken. Valland had worked at the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris during World War II, overseeing the Nazi looting of French art treasures. Intrigued by her true story of resisting Nazi art theft, Bricken brought in director Arthur Penn to develop the film. Penn saw it as a vehicle for his friend Burt Lancaster and got him on board to star and co-produce. But creative differences led Penn to depart the project, with action director John Frankenheimer taking over. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue the 1965 BAFTAs Best Film From Any Source Nominees series with a conversation about The Train.

Here’s a hint at what we talk about:

We dive into the real history behind this fictionalized account of protecting French art from the Nazis in WWII. We discuss Frankenheimer’s groundbreaking filming techniques using real trains and locations. And we debate the deeper themes around valuing art over human life.

Here are a few other points in our discussion:

  • Highlighting the standout performance by Burt Lancaster
  • Appreciating Paul Scofield as the obsessive Nazi colonel
  • Noting the exceptional black and white cinematography
  • Poking fun at the uneven accents
  • Praising the thrilling climactic train yard action sequences

The Train is a thoroughly engrossing WWII action-drama that also makes you think. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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