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Directed by Carol Reed
UK 1940

 

Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich is a twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight, combining comedy, romance, and thrills with the greatest of ease. Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, Night Train takes viewers on a World War II–era journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison. This captivating, long-overlooked adventure—which also features Paul Henreid and a clever screenplay by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, best known for writing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes—is a deftly concocted spy game that could give the master of suspense a run for his money.

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Theatrical Release: August 31st, 1940

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 523 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:35:09 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• New video conversation between film scholars Peter Evans and Bruce Babington about director Carol Reed, screenwriters Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, and the social and political climate (29:22)
in which Night Train to Munich was made
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Kemp

DVD Release Date: June 29th, 2010

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 24

 

Comments:

The direct relationship Night Train to Munich has with Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes - the same general spy-related plot, script writers + studio, Margaret Lockwood, Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne - really only embellishes its impressiveness. Reed's direction is assured with lots of subtleties. It's different from The Master but this, by no means, makes it poor. Suspense builds well and it becomes a taught thriller. Very worthy of a viewing.

Criterion have pictureboxed the transfer (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). NOTE: The Criterion captures below have been put in their own table to indicate the amount of the pictureboxing (indicated by the black border circumventing the edge). Where this may benefit systems that produce overscan (ex. production made cathode ray tubes) - it detracts from systems that do not requite it (ex. HTPC and many HDMI connected systems). It's dual-layered and looks quite good - Criterion's strong contrast supported by a decent bitrate make for a pleasing, and often surprising, image. There are vintage newsclips used in the beginning setting up the WWII reference. There is grain, noise and visually it is very clean - free of damage marks.

Audio is about what you might expect from the an early 40's film. Dialogue is reasonably consistent in the mono rendering. There are optional subtitles available (see sample below).

Extras aren't very advanced consisting of a 1/2 hour conversation between film scholars Peter Evans and Bruce Babington about director Carol Reed, screenwriters Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, and the social and political climate in which Night Train to Munich was made. There is also a 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Kemp.

Great film with strong value certainly existing. The price may be on the high end but fans of vintage cinema and the director will appreciate the package. I had never seen Night Train to Munich before and this appears to be the only DVD outlet at present. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 523 - Region 1 - NTSC



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