Night Train to Munich

1940, Carol Reed, UK

Director: Carol Reed
Producer: Edward Black
Screenplay: Sydney Gilliat, Frank Launder
  based on a story by Gordon Wellesley
Cinematography: Otto Kanturek
Editor: R.E. Dearing
Music: Louis Levy, Charles Williams
Margaret Lockwood (Anna Bomasch)
Rex Harrison (Dickie Randall/Gus Bennett)
Paul von Hernried (Karl Marsen)
Basil Radford (Charters)
Naunton Wayne (Caldicott)
James Harcourt (Axel Bomasch)
Felix Aylmer (Dr John Fredericks)


Rating: M suicide references Runtime: 95 minutes

A sterling example of the British World War II patriotic thriller, its twisty plot, double crosses and deep cover agents calling to mind the Master of Suspense.  Director Carol Reed was still developing his own style and got a bit of help from the screenwriters, star and character actors of Hitchcock’s own Nazi train nailbiter The Lady Vanishes, which came out two years earlier.

Margaret Lockwood plays the daughter of a Czechoslovakian scientist who escapes to London while she is thrown in a hastily-assembled concentration camp, before escaping with the help of a handsome MI6 man and ending up on the titular train, by way of a literal cliff-hanger in the Swiss Alps (some “blatantly bargain basement” model work that Reed would complain looked like ice cream).  Night Train hints at the work Reed would turn out later in the decade, including Odd Man Out and The Fallen Idol.

“Night Train to Munich is an ingenious, tongue-in-cheek roller coaster of a thriller, neatly balancing its more serious moments with espionage intrigue, headlong chase sequences, a hint of sexual innuendo, and — not least of its delights — a generous helping of spiritedly played, Nazi-baiting comedy… since it was released in May 1940, after Britain had entered the war, the baddies could be unequivocally identified — and mocked.”  – Philip Kemp, Criterion 



Mar 18 2024


6:15 pm - 7:50 pm