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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.

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 31st, 1940

Reviews                                                                         More Reviews                                                      DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 523 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #523 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:09  1:35:19.755  
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.33:1 Disc Size: 36,277,581,201 bytes

Feature Size: 27,960,391,680 bytes

Average Bitrate:34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video: 1080P

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 1.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None 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

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1.33:1 Disc Size: 36,277,581,201 bytes

Feature Size: 27,960,391,680 bytes

Average Bitrate:34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video: 1080P

Edition Details:

• 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 in which Night Train to Munich was made (29:22)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Kemp

Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Transparent Keep case

Chapters: 23

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray July 16': I don't have too much to add about the film that wasn't stated in the DVD review below. I just watched the pictureboxed SD transfer and did a comparison on my 60" system and there is a very notable difference. The Blu-ray is a max'ed out bitrate with more than 6X the resolution. I can now see depth, plenty of consistent grain textures and the presentation is extremely more film-like.

Audio goes linear PCM mono (24-bit) and the score by Louis Levy and Charles Williams (both uncredited work for The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes) is also improved. Dialogue is also superior - still a function of the production period but easily discernable. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Extras duplicate the DVD with the 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 liner notes booklet featuring an essay by film critic Philip Kemp.

Cracker of an espionage/thriller if you are in the right mood. Radford and Wayne certainly help establish the atmosphere. It's a film I have re-watched a few times. 

***

ON THE DVD: 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 available at present. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

   

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 523 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #523 - Region 'A' Blu-ray



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