Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Night Train to Munich (1940)

When Criterion put out Night Train to Munich I thought little of it. It was a film I had never heard of and other than it being an espionage film from 1940 I had little interest. However earlier this year after reading a few reviews that raved about it I picked it up and put it on my shelf until my bout with back pain.

What a mistake not watching it sooner was. Put this on my list of finds of the year because its a nifty little thriller that is a joy to behold.

The film is set just before the war in Europe goes hot. A noted scientist escapes from Czechoslovakia before the Nazi's invade. His daughter is not so lucky and she is tossed into a concentration camp. With the help of another prisoner she escapes and the pair make their way to England. She eventually makes contact with her father, thanks in part to song and dance man, played by Rex Harrison, who is actually a government agent. The Nazi's learn of this and they capture father and daughter and send them back to Germany incognito. Harrison plots a rescue. I won't say more because this is such a neat little film.

Refusing to take the easy way out the film moves along at a good clip keeping the suspense high even as it provokes a few carefully placed laughs. This being a wartime film there is also much wrangling about being patriotic but it never over whelms the story and is perfectly in keeping with the time period.

I can't say enough good about the film, its simply a great blast from the past. I do need to mention it has one hell of an ending that really ratchets up the tension.

I'm at a loss as to why I had never run across this film before. Until Criterion released it I don't think I was ever consciously aware of it. Some how I find this a great loss since its so good I can't wait to see it again.

Readily available now there is simply no reason not to see this.

1 comment:

  1. Just watched this today and I agree with your assessment 100 percent. Brilliant film marked by some wonderful performances and great, subtle humour.