Ticket to ride: Movies set on trains
My partner and I are about to start our vacation. This year we are lucky enough to have more free days than the usual and we plan to visit a few cities in Central Europe. Therefore, as train entousiasts we are, we chose to travel by train. Not our first time doing this, baecause the atmosphere of the train is something we enjoy.
And as we are getting ready -literally, I am packing, just made a quick break- (poof!) came the inspiration about today's post:
Movies set on a train:
Even though there are many films that involve a train in their plot, in this list I will only mention my favourite ones. So, let's start the countdown with one of my favourites
Before Sunrise by Richard Linklater (1995)
On a train many things might happen. Or better, anything can happen. Walking between the carriages looking for a seat in the compartment, you may find the love of your life. The American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meets Celine (Julie Delpy) on the train to Vienna and convinces her to disembark together in Vienna, starting a romance that lasts for many years. The film begins and ends in a train station, transporting us with the swaying rhythm of the train to the love of Jesse and Celine.
Favorite scene: when Jesse has this crazy idea that he and Celine go down to Vienna and continue to discover this connection that they have with each other.
Jesse : Alright, I have an admittedly insane idea, but if I don't ask you this it's just, uh, you know, it's gonna haunt me the rest of my life Celine : What? Jesse : Um... I want to keep talking to you, y'know. I have no idea what your situation is, but, uh, but I feel like we have some kind of, uh, connection. Right? Celine : Yeah, me too.
The lady vanishes by Alfred Hitchcock (1938)
One of the first movies that had a train in its plot that I watched in my life (the first one - I believe was the General) and I loved it. In the region where I grew up there were no trains, so everything about them was something that fascinated me, even this old film. (I have to admit that I learned pretty later that the film was dierected by Hitchcock). From the first time I watched it, I found it brilliant (perhaps my "crush" to Michael Redgrave had something to do with it). An elderly lady, miss Froy, vanishes and the only ones that have noticed it are Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. The situation becomes even more stranger, as all the passengers deny that have seen the elderly lady and think that Logwood is going crazy. But slowly as the train rolls to its destination the mystery unweaves.
Throw momma from the train By Danny De Vito (1987)
A film not so much about trains, but here the train is the means, the "place" to kill someone, and as you guessed from the title, the victim to be is momma. Inspired by "Strangers in Train" by Hitchcock, two perfect strangers meet together and decide to help each other with the problems they have. Larry (Billy Crystal) wants to get rid of his ex -wife and Owen (Danny de Vito) wants to "evaporate" his bossy, sulky and overpushing mother, so they scheme for Owen to kill Larry's wife and Larry Owen's mother, so they would have an alibi (as the prototype movie "Strangers in the night" does). But everything goes awry, especially around Owen's mother and the result is one funny movie, true to comedy style.
Runaway train by Andrei Konchalovsky (1985)
Based on an AKira Kurosawa's script, Andrei Konchalovsky matched together two hardened criminals who escape and board a train they believed would lead them to their freedom. But the train is out of control (I pray that this does not happen on our journey) and the two protagonists, the excellent Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, who were also nominated for an Oscar for their acting, try to stop it. The film, despite being an action film with emotions and situations in red, focuses on the dynamic between the two protagonists and the tensions or interaction between them. Kondzalowski made a film where our heroes have to deal with a machine in addition to their real enemies. Who will win in the end?
Murder on the Orient Express by Sidney Lumet (1974)
Some might disagree and prefer to watch the recent film by Kenneth Brannagh, but for me, personally, Alfred Finney was much better in the role of Poirot. An abnoxious rich passenger on the Orient Express (the train that run through Europe and Western Asia, from Constantinopole to Paris and vice versa) was murdered inside his sleeping coupe with a dozen stabs on his body. Of course Poirot, is there to solve the mystery. Set on the train, Lumet made a managed to convey Agatha Christie's mystery genius so well in this claustrophobic atmosphere of the train, which confines people creating increased pressure and provokes reactions. The scene of revelations -as usual in Christie's works- with Hercule Poirot gathering all the suspects in a wagon to reveal the culprit, also shows how convincing Finney was in this role. He was Hercule Poirot. One of my favorite movies with a superstar team to play along Finney, from Sean Connery to Ingrid Bergman, from Lauren Bacall to Anthony Perkins.
Ingrid Bergman won the Oscar for supporting actress for this role
I know I left quite a few train movies off my list. There is the masterpiece of the seventh art, The General with the inimitable Buster Keaton, The Great Train Robbery with Sean Connery, Train to Busan and Snowpiercer.
Do you have any favorite train movies? If you have others to recommend, you can mention them in the comments.
Ok. this was my list of train movies. Now I have to start packing... Now that I think about it, I've never had anything like this happen to me like the movie cases I mentioned. I hope no killers are found on my journey or the train runs out of control (lol). I hope I didn't ruin my trip - wish me luck.
Thank you for reading!