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(aka 'John Frankenheimer's The Train' or ' Le Train' or 'Il Treno')

Directed by John Frankenheimer
USA 19
64

 

Discount some self-conscious talk about Art as a national heritage, as well as clumsy dubbing of the supporting cast, and you have a rattling good thriller about a World War II German general (Scofield) determined to flee Paris just before the liberation with a trainload of Impressionist paintings. One obsession runs headlong into another as a French railway inspector (Lancaster), once unwillingly started out in opposition, finds he cannot stop, and must go on finding new ways and means of delaying the train for an hour here, a day there. In Frankenheimer's hands, the whole paraphernalia of trains, tracks and shunting yards acquires an almost hypnotic fascination as the screen becomes a giant chessboard on which huge metallic pawns are manoeuvred, probing for some fatal weakness but seemingly engaged in some deadly primeval struggle.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 22nd, 1964

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Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

The exact same The Train DVD is also available in The John Frankenheimer Collection along with The Manchurian Candidate The Young Savages and Ronin.

             

Distribution MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Twilight Tome
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:13:36  2:13:14.027
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Disc Size: 40,615,818,143 bytes

Feature Size: 39,415,375,872 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 1062 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1062 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1686 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1686 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, French, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: MGM Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by John Frankenheimer
• Music-only track 

• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: February 23rd, 1999

Keep Case
Chapters: 32

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

1.66:1 aspect ratio

Disc Size: 40,615,818,143 bytes

Feature Size: 39,415,375,872 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by John Frankenheimer

• Commentary by Julie Kirgo, Nick Redman, and Paul Seydor

• Isolated Music & Effects Track
• Original Theatrical Trailer (4:24)

Liner Notes by Julie Kirgo

Limited to 3,000 copies!

Blu-ray Release Date: June, 2014
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Twilight Time Blu-ray - June 14': Okay, we can be brief here - the MGM DVD was horrible and out-of-print fetching big bucks - not anymore. The Twilight Time Blu-ray is 1.66:1, 1080P, a max'ed out bitrate and... magnificent. it supports the grain, beautiful contrast (not quite crushed) and no ugly DNR waxiness that we see on the non-anamorphic SD. The BD offers lossless audio (optional English subtitles), a new commentary by Julie Kirgo, Nick Redman, and Paul Seydor on top of the old, boring Frankenheimer one, their usual isolated music & effects track, an original theatrical trailer and liner notes by Julie Kirgo. This is limited to 3,000 copies - don't wait! Our highest recommendation!

***

ON THE DVD: Firstly, before I state how much I love this film, I'll explain why I am disgusted once again with MGM. Amazon shows this DVD came out in February 1999 (the VOB files are actually dated January 1999 - so we'll assume that date is accurate). It is dual-layered but non-anamorphic in the seemingly problematic, at the time, 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This was fairly common in the early days of DVD and the inclusion of a director commentary would have been a noted bonus. But 9 years later MGM have included this exact same disc (still not 16X9 enhanced!) in their new John Frankenheimer Collection. THIS FILM DESERVES BETTER. This was Frankenheimer's fourth out of five films with Burt Lancaster and the director is quite deft in his touches of building suspense with meticulous continuity detail and brilliant pacing. This is precision filmmaking that seemed ahead of its time. Lancaster is, as usual, excellent as the enigmatic protagonist - idealistic but not afraid to put himself on the line. The two made a great team. Powerful stuff.

I am more upset with the DNR that it being letterboxed (a few speckles and damage marks also exist) which really only means it would look about 30% superior if it was anamorphic. Perhaps the dual-layering benefited the strong detail and contrast.  Anyway - it looks good but could have looked much better. I still find it hard to believe they would simply repackage this in a slim case without improving... after almost a decade! The audio is clean and clear and there are optional English or French subtitles available.

There is a commentary by Frankenheimer - but it has plenty of pauses as he lets the narrative run. He tends to narrate a bit and never really gets into the meat of the production details (he does mention some staging and dolly shooting quirks, depth of focus, black and white cinematography etc.). His voice is also quite low and sedate for a commentarist especially with the background audio of the film still running (it's almost like he's whispering). But when he does impart information it is usually very interesting. A fairly unique option is to play the 'music-only' track. The Maurice Jarre soundtrack is quite wonderful and very positively mentioned by Frankenheimer in his commentary. Also available is a theatrical trailer.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a magnificent film and it's a shame that it isn't released by a proper studio or DVD production house. If you don't have this then it might make sense to get the John Frankenheimer Collection as it also includes The Young Savages which is the only way to get that Frankenheimer with Lancaster production on DVD. It is still very discouraging to see MGM take advantage in this way. They obviously don't have much respect for what they produce or their customer base. 

Gary W. Tooze


 Menus

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

The exact same The Train DVD is also available in The John Frankenheimer Collection along with The Manchurian Candidate The Young Savages and Ronin.

             

Distribution MGM Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Twilight Tome
Region FREE -
Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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