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The Independent (25/Jan/2014) - Tracking Shots: The Best Railway Movie Moments



Tracking Shots: The Best Railway Movie Moments

1. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Alfred Hitchcock's delightful thriller has Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood falling in love, an old lady vanishing in mysterious circumstances, and a cricket loving pair agonising over missing a Test match. As Hitchcock demonstrated in films from 'The 39 Steps' to 'Strangers on a Train', a long train journey offers unlimited possibilities for action, conspiracy and romance

2. Brief Encounter (1945)

In David Lean's Home Counties melodrama, a suburban housewife falls in love with a doctor after he plucks a speck of dust out of her eye on a railway platform. The relationship isn't consummated but all that thumping Rachmaninov music and those sequences of trains disappearing down tunnels at high speed leave us in no doubt about the desire the couple feel for one another

3. Von Ryan's Express (1965)

Escaped Allied prisoners take over a Nazi freight train and pass themselves off as German soldiers in this tremendous war movie. Frank Sinatra plays the Yank with attitude, the senior ranking officer Ryan who is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to lead the men to freedom in Switzerland

4. Night Train (1974)

Jerzy Kawalerowicz's film plays like an atmospheric, art-house version of one of Alfred Hitchcock's ripping yarns. Backed by a jazzy soundtrack, passengers include Zbigniew Cybulski - the Polish James Dean - a beautiful blonde and a dark-glasses-wearing stranger who may be a killer on the run. Train movies don't come any cooler than this

5. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Agatha Christie adaptations don't come any more lavish than Sidney Lumet's all-star movie with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave and Jacqueline Bisset were all aboard. It offered a sumptuous vision of rail travel very far removed from that experienced by the 1970s British public

6. Runaway Train (1985)

Director Andrei Konchalovsky realised that the key factor in runaway train movies is the relentlessness. Forget about character and plot. What matters is the sheer velocity...and the fact that the train simply can't be stopped. Jon Voight and Eric Roberts are the escaped criminals on board, hurtling towards doom

7. Festival Express (2003)

Too many movies set on trains are polite affairs. This raucous documentary offers a chronicle of a 1970 train tour in which the passengers travelling - and jamming and misbehaving - between concerts in Canada included Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead

8. Nymphomaniac (2013)

Lars von Trier's erotic epic has a very bawdy early scene, reminiscent of British sex comedies of the 1970s, in which the young heroine Joe (Stacy Martin) and her best friend (Sophie Kennedy Clark) compete with one another to make as many seductions as possible during a train journey. One commuter reading his newspaper gets quite a shock...