Train Movies!!!!!

TMP

I haven’t exactly planned on taking three months off from Wandering Through the Shelves’ Thursday Movie Picks. Every week I plan a post for Thursday but haven’t seemed to manage getting my shit together in time.

I couldn’t miss the chance to talk about train movies though. I like trains. Wanderer’s timing is impeccable as usual given that my father just retired at the beginning of the month after 39 (I think) years working for CN Rail. Also, Jay, Sean, and I leave for TIFF today. Taking the train to Toronto is a treasured TIFF tradition for me and how fitting to pay homage to trains today as we start a new annual tradition of The Assholes at TIFF.

From Russia with Love

From Russia With love (1963)– One of my favourite Bond movies devotes more than 30 minutes of its 115-minute running time to a chapter aboard the Orient Express. Sean Connery’s 007 and gorgeous Russian spy Tatiana Romanova dodge Russian agents and the great Robert Shaw’s sadistic Grant and still find time to shag in the berth and visit the dining car. Bond and Grant’s final fight in the cramped sleeping quarters ranks among one of the best fights in the whole series.

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)– Still on the Orient Express, still Connery. Sidney Lumet’s murder mystery is set almost entirely aboard the train and is apparently the only adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel that ms Christie ever liked. Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, and Ingrid Bergman stand out among a dream cast that has almost as many Oscar winners and nominees as it does speaking parts.

snowpiercer-16x9-3

Snowpiercer (2014)– Living on a train that circles the globe sounded like my dream come true until director Joon-Ho Bong showed me all the things that could go wrong. A strict class system keeps the poor in the back of the train in claustrophobic conditions while those at the front of the train call the shots. We get to see more and more of the train as a group of rebels from the caboose make a daring run to the front. The design of the train is just brilliant with every car looking significantly different from the last.

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30 thoughts on “Train Movies!!!!!

    1. Matt Post author

      Snowpiercer IS awesome!
      Surprising maybe since I love trains so much and seem to REALLY like connery on trains but I’ve never seen The Great Train Robbery. I read the book though.

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  1. Myerla

    Ahh, yes. The train sequences from Russia with Love are absolute gold. Completely agree that it’s one of the best fights of the entire franchise, and Robert Shaw makes one hell of villain.

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  2. Birgit

    I love James Bond and From Russia With Love is one of the best especially since it has Robert Shaw cast as one bad ass dude. I picked Murder on the Orient Express also because i just love this film. Snowpiercer is a popular one also. There are so many great films that take place on trains it was hard to choose

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    1. Matt Post author

      Yes, Robert Shaw is the first classic Bond villain. I love how in those early Sean Connery movies they hadn’t settled into a by-the-numbers Bond formula yet
      I actually saw Murder on the Orient Express for the first time this week and jsut had a blast watching it.

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  3. J.

    Still to watch Snowpiercer! High on the list, though. I did watch a train flick the other week … Transsiberian. Mnah. Does The Lone Ranger count? There was a lot of train scenes in that one (yeah, I watched that one!).

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  4. joelnox

    Glad to see you back. I haven’t seen Snowpiercer yet, it is on my list but I’ll have to move it up since it’s all over the place today. It’s been years since I’ve seen From Russia with Love and I only have dim memories of it aside from the fact that I liked it, I’ll have to give it another look.

    LOVE Murder on the Orient Express so much! It’s one of my picks too. I saw it in the theatre on its initial run, neither of my parents were, nor are, movie goers but they both agree that this was something they wanted to see on the big screen and we made an outing of it. Loved it then love it now. Agree that the three performers you mention stand out but everybody is wonderful, I think this is the most relaxed and sexy that Vanessa Redgrave has ever been and man alive Jacqueline Bisset is simply breathtaking in this, she doesn’t need it but it helps that her wardrobe is eye popping as well. All the costuming and production design is amazing.

    Here’s mine for the week, my first is a terrible movie that I only listed as warning so that no one would make the mistake of suffering through it as I did.

    The Lady Vanishes (1979)-An example of all that can go wrong when a classic is inadvisably remade. Peter Bogdanovich recasts the roles so expertly done by Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave in the Hitchcock original with the totally unsuitable Cybill Shepard and Elliott Gould and proceeds to get everything else wrong that the first did right. The one bright spot-Angela Lansbury taking over the role of Miss Froy that Dame May Whitty played in the original but she’s in too little of the movie to save it.

    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)-The gold standard for mystery adaptations. Superior version of Agatha Christie’s novel of a snowbound train on which a murder has occurred and which the famous detective Hercule Poirot sets out to solve. Everything is top of the line from the set and costume design to the cast. What a cast! In every role is a recognizable face from either American or international cinema. Everyone does terrific work though Ingrid Bergman’s best supporting actress Oscar is puzzling, even she didn’t think she deserved to win. Betty Bacall is a real standout as the loquacious Mrs. Hubbard and Albert Finney gives a tremendous performance of the fussy Belgian sleuth.

    Lady on a Train (1945)-A lady on a train, Deanna Durbin, witnesses a murder from her window but can only identify the victim not the killer. She goes to the police but when they don’t believe her story she turns to a writer of detective stories for help and together they try to find the killer and solve the case. Light mystery spoof even finds ways to have Deanna sing a few songs, backed up by a great supporting cast including Edward Everett Horton, Dan Duryea, Elizabeth Patterson, George Coulouris, Ralph Bellamy and William Frawley she has rarely looked so beautiful.

    Honorable Mention-Unstoppable (2010)-Because of a stupid mistake a train containing dangerous material has become a runaway. A mismatched pair of train engineers on their first day as partners try and stop it before disaster strikes. Fast paced and exciting with some cool derring-do but nothing that pushes the movie over into ridiculousness. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine make a solid team.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Thanks Joel! Oh everyone was fantastic in Murder on the Orient Express. I loved how Martin Balsam always thought that the last person interviewed “did it”.
      Thanks for the warning about The Lady Vanishes remake. I didn’t even know they made one.

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  5. fragglerocking

    Have not seen Snowpiercer, sounds intriguing, the others are old faves as I do like me a bit of Bond and the Orient Express is my dream journey. Am surprised you didn’t mention the greatest Train movie ever, Von Ryans Express!

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  6. filmfunkel

    I’m with J. on Dark Territory – it’s one sweet train movie. 😀

    I wonder if 2011’s Priest has enough train time to count… is there a minimum amount to make the list?

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  7. Anna (Film Grimoire)

    Three excellent train movies! I loved Snowpiercer and have always meant to rewatch it. There’s also a pretty good train scene in Live and Let Die. Bond seems to have a pretty special relationship with trains, now that I think about it. My partner and I just counted nine films where trains are featured!

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