James Garner is riding the narrow gauge rails of the Denver & Rio Grande Western (D&RGW) Railroad in this Western spoof follow-up to 1969’s Support Your Local Sheriff!
Train scenes in this film were brief, but feature 4 different steam locomotives, one of which I’ve not been able to positively identify. A big shout out to Larry Jensen whose “Hollywood’s Railroads, Volume 3” book helped me identify one engine used on the CBS Studio City (CA) lot.
As usual, I’ll concentrate on the railroad scenes in my review, even though the movie itself is great fun to watch — back when Tinseltown knew how to make an enjoyable, entertaining picture.
Let’s take a trip on the 3-feet-between-the-rails Rio Grande railroad. Highball!!
D&RGW #478, a narrow gauge K-28 class 2-8-2 Alco class of 1924, leads a short train of “Grande Gold” and silver coaches along the Animas River on the Silverton Line.
Helicopter shots of this train were used at the beginning and ending of today’s reviewed movie.
While not particularly OBSCURE, (Trains Magazine rated it the #1 greatest railroad film, evah), this black & white MOVIE is chock full of TRAINS from start to finish. So, two out of three ain’t bad.
Mind you, it’s a foreign film, which I usually don’t review, but The Train features so many explosions, spectacular derailments and is steam locomotive-propelled throughout, I just couldn’t pass it up.
Burt Lancaster, American accent intact, stars as the engine driver Labiche (pronounced Labeesh) — more about his funny last name later.
So come on, all you World War 2 buffs, let’s check out how the railway workers of the French Resistance take on the Germans in this gritty, over-exposed iron horse opera.
Colonel Franz Von Waldheim (played by Paul Scofield) is the art connoisseur who has looted a trainload of paintings from the Musee du Jeu de Paume and intends to take it back to Germany for ransom (“enough to equip 10 panzer divisions”).
How come English stage actors seem to make the most sinister and convincing stiff-arm saluting German officers?
Columbia Broadcasting System
Okay, the above has got nothing to do with today’s review, but I always liked that song.
Jim West (played by Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (played by Ross Martin) star in this post-Civil War spy caper in the American West. Their preferred method of transportation is their own private car “Wanderer 1” towed by (natch!) a steam locomotive.
Although I’m reviewing a black and white episode from the first season, I will supplement with color views of “The Night of the Vicious Valentine” from season 2.
Motive power for the train was provided by venerable Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0 #22, “The Inyo”. This is from the days when she was owned by Paramount Studios. All exterior train shots were filmed around Menifee, California.
Compare B&W and color poses of Inyo, a baggage car and Wanderer as they pause for Jim and Artemus to leap into action!