February 3rd, 2010

Alan

More Black & White: Night Train to Munich



I’ve just watched another 1940s film by Carol Reed: Night Train to Munich. It's set in September 1939 and was designed to show the British just how nasty the Nazis were. A Czech industrialist, working on armour plating which might win the war for whichever side has it, is whisked out of the country as German troops roll in. (‘You will land at Croydon!’) His daughter (Margaret Lockwood, whom I prefer as The Wicked Lady) is nabbed to give the baddies a hold over him. She ‘escapes’ rather easily from a concentration camp, helped by a man she trusts (she’s a very silly girl) but who is of course a Nazi. Thanks to this agent the Czech pair are picked up and carried back to Germany.

The film then livens up considerably as Rex Harrison portrays a suave British Secret Service agent who impersonates a German officer and nearly gets away with it. It's worth watching just for this performance. To add to the fun Naughton Wayne and Basil Radford reprise their characters Caldicott and Charters from Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. They’re unwilling and funny heroes but play the game as expected. It all ends with the battle of the cable cars, phew!

I’d seen the film before but still enjoyed a second viewing. Not one of the great war films but with plenty of interest. Watch out for Raymond Huntley,who appeared in so many other war films but is probably best remembered for his role as Sir Geoffrey Dillon in the TV series Upstairs, Downstairs.