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All Aboard - Trains in Movies


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Two movies involving trains and America's 16th president...

 

In "The Tall Target" (1951), Dick Powell is a 19th-century New York City police detective who uncovers a plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln as he travels to Washington by train. The name of Powell's character: John Kennedy. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, there's a moving scene in the Civil War film "Raintree County" (1957), in which Lincoln's funeral train -- on its way to the assassinated president's final resting place in Springfield, Illinois -- passes by the Freehaven depot.

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The Women (1939) taking the train to Reno,

Hail the Conquering Hero (1943), Bracken is befriended by Marines onboard..

No Man of Her Own (1950), Stanwyck is a trainwreck, then there's the metaphor.

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (commuter train, but a train out of NYC) 

The Natural,(1983) Hobbs should have never gotten on that train.  

 

And, Sherlock Holmes and Terror by Night.(1946) and the Star of Rhodesia diamond theft.

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5410cf20-ed0a-457b-9f5c-4a2995bb169b_zps

 

DODGE CITY opens with a race between a stagecoach and a train. The train wins, the triumph of an invention by man, symbolic, in turn, of the progress which will lead to the conquering of the West.

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In "Unstoppable" (2010), Denzel Washington and Chris Pine play railroad employees who team up to try and stop an unmanned freight train hurtling at high speeds through western Pennsylvania. The thriller was the final film directed by Tony Scott ("Top Gun," "Crimson Tide"), who died in 2012.

 

 

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Jon Voight and Eric Roberts received Academy Award nominations for their performances in "Runaway Train" (1985), which was directed by the Russian filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky ("Maria's Lovers," "Tango & Cash"). The actors played escaped Alaskan convicts who -- along with a young train employee (Rebecca De Mornay) -- wind up trapped aboard an unpiloted train with no brakes. The film was based on an original screenplay by the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUo2UtlxTS0

 

Voight was nominated for Best Actor, while Roberts -- the older brother of Julia Roberts and father of Emma Roberts -- earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination. The film also was nominated for Best Film Editing (Henry Richardson).

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Ernest Borgnine is a Depression era train conductor who takes great exception(to put it mildly) with anyone, and especially down on their luck hobos, who attempt to catch free rides on his train. Lee Marvin plays a master at doing just this in Robert Aldrich's EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973)...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jn-ZS7g8xs

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Here are a couple of memorable train scenes from "Gandhi," the 1982 Best Picture winner produced and directed by the late Sir Richard Attenborough:
 
As a proud young Indian attorney traveling through South Africa, Gandhi (Sir Ben Kingsley) buys a first-class train ticket. When he is physically thrown off because of his race, the humiliation he feels is palpable. The incident also stiffens his resolve to battle discrimination in the country.

 
The movie features another noteworthy train trip -- this one in India -- as the Mahatma surveys by rail the country he is determined to improve.
 
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One of the first film directors to utilize a train for thrills was, of course, Hitchcock.

 

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Here's a shot of Robert Donat trying to escape the police by clinging to the outside of a train car (we don't have doors on the outside of individual cars now they way they did then in Britain, thank God).

 

And, yes, that light you see down the track is the sight of an approaching train.

 

The first of the truly great Hitchcock thrillers, THE 39 STEPS. Technically dated today, true, but still a fun ride.

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I'd have to say that "The Polar Express," Robert Zemeckis' 2004 motion-capture masterpiece, has become one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies.

 

 

 

That and the roller coaster scene in the movie, almost ruined it for me. :angry:

 

FF button sure comes in handy.

fastforward.jpg

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Great topic.  Although I'm not a true train buff, I've loved riding trains since childhood, when my grandfather was finishing his life-long career as an employee of the Chicago & North Western Railway.

 

Many of my favorite train movies have already been noted: NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE LADY VANISHES, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE PALM BEACH STORY, UNION STATION, and others.

 

One that hasn't been mentioned is ANDY HARDY'S BLONDE TROUBLE (1944).  In a fairly lengthy sequence at the beginning of the picture, Andy is on the train, heading for his freshman year at Wainwright College.  He meets others who are also on their way to Wainwright: his soon-to-be close friend Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville), the college dean, Dr. Standish (Herbert Marshall), and twin sisters Lee and Lyn Walker (Lee and Lyn Wilde), who provide the "blonde trouble" in the story.  There are scenes in the Pullman coach, the dining car, and on the open-air rear deck of the observation car, so the movie provides a lot of railroad atmosphere.

 

Interestingly, this train sequence began at the end of the previous Hardy movie, ANDY HARDY'S DOUBLE LIFE (1942).  There, Andy's mom and dad have car trouble at the end of the picture and barely make it to the Carville train station in time to say goodbye to him as he's leaving for college.  After a quick farewell, Andy hops on the train, sits down in the coach car, and promptly meets an attractive young woman.  But it's not Bonita Granville, who plays Kay Wilson in the last two original Hardy movies -- instead, the young woman is the very pretty Susan Peters, who tells Andy, much to his surprise and delight, that she's also on her way to Wainwright, which has just become co-educational (probably because most young men are off at the war, which isn't mentioned). 

 

This meeting scene on the train was repeated with Bonita Granville two years later at the beginning of ANDY HARDY'S BLONDE TROUBLE.  Why didn't Susan Peters end up playing Kay Wilson, even though MGM was clearly setting her up to be featured in the Hardy pictures, like many other young actresses had been previously?  I'm really not sure.  I always thought it was because of the tragic hunting accident that left Ms. Peters a paraplegic.  But that accident didn't occur until after BLONDE TROUBLE was released, so there must have been other reasons that Bonita Granville replaced her as Andy's first truly serious love interest, Kay Wilson.

 

I don't think WELCOME STRANGER (1947) has been mentioned either.  It's a comedy that's similar to the earlier GOING MY WAY (1944), but instead of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald playing priests, in this movie they're doctors.  Bing is a young physician who travels by train to a small town in Maine, where he's going to fill in temporarily for Barry, the beloved town doctor who's taking his first vacation in decades.  The two meet on the overnight train trip from Boston, where Barry has been to talk with the doctor's referral service and to buy fishing gear for his vacation.  Barry takes an immediate dislike to Bing because of a mix-up over the ownership of a newspaper while they're in the smoking compartment (actually, the men's washroom) on the train, and there's later a mix-up over the ownership of a plate of trout in the dining car the next morning.  As you might guess, though, by the end of the movie, Bing and Barry are the best of friends.

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Great topic.  Although I'm not a true train buff, I've loved riding trains since childhood, when my grandfather was finishing his life-long career as an employee of the Chicago & North Western Railway.

 

Many of my favorite train movies have already been noted: NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE LADY VANISHES, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE PALM BEACH STORY, UNION STATION, and others.

 

One that hasn't been mentioned is ANDY HARDY'S BLONDE TROUBLE (1944).  In a fairly lengthy sequence at the beginning of the picture, Andy is on the train, heading for his freshman year at Wainwright College.  He meets others who are also on their way to Wainwright: his soon-to-be close friend Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville), the college dean, Dr. Standish (Herbert Marshall), and twin sisters Lee and Lyn Walker (Lee and Lyn Wilde), who provide the "blonde trouble" in the story.  There are scenes in the Pullman coach, the dining car, and on the open-air rear deck of the observation car, so the movie provides a lot of railroad atmosphere.

 

Interestingly, this train sequence began at the end of the previous Hardy movie, ANDY HARDY'S DOUBLE LIFE (1942).  There, Andy's mom and dad have car trouble at the end of the picture and barely make it to the Carville train station in time to say goodbye to him as he's leaving for college.  After a quick farewell, Andy hops on the train, sits down in the coach car, and promptly meets an attractive young woman.  But it's not Bonita Granville, who plays Kay Wilson in the last two original Hardy movies -- instead, the young woman is the very pretty Susan Peters, who tells Andy, much to his surprise and delight, that she's also on her way to Wainwright, which has just become co-educational (probably because most young men are off at the war, which isn't mentioned). 

 

This meeting scene on the train was repeated with Bonita Granville two years later at the beginning of ANDY HARDY'S BLONDE TROUBLE.  Why didn't Susan Peters end up playing Kay Wilson, even though MGM was clearly setting her up to be featured in the Hardy pictures, like many other young actresses had been previously?  I'm really not sure.  I always thought it was because of the tragic hunting accident that left Ms. Peters a paraplegic.  But that accident didn't occur until after BLONDE TROUBLE was released, so there must have been other reasons that Bonita Granville replaced her as Andy's first truly serious love interest, Kay Wilson.

 

I don't think WELCOME STRANGER (1947) has been mentioned either.  It's a comedy that's similar to the earlier GOING MY WAY (1944), but instead of Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald playing priests, in this movie they're doctors.  Bing is a young physician who travels by train to a small town in Maine, where he's going to fill in temporarily for Barry, the beloved town doctor who's taking his first vacation in decades.  The two meet on the overnight train trip from Boston, where Barry has been to talk with the doctor's referral service and to buy fishing gear for his vacation.  Barry takes an immediate dislike to Bing because of a mix-up over the ownership of a newspaper while they're in the smoking compartment (actually, the men's washroom) on the train, and there's later a mix-up over the ownership of a plate of trout in the dining car the next morning.  As you might guess, though, by the end of the movie, Bing and Barry are the best of friends.

 

Most like the reason Bonita Granville was used was because she had more name recognition; i.e. box office clout.   

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Most of my favorites have been mentioned already( The Train, The General, Orient Express, The Lady Vanishes, et al).

 

I can only add a couple

 

IT HAPPENED TO JANE  w/Doris Day and Jack Lemmon

 

RUNAWAY TRAIN  w/John Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca De Mornay and John P. Ryan

 

Did someone mention EMPEROR OF THE NORTH?

 

Probably, and I missed the post.

 

 

Sepiatone

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