7.2/10
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46 user 33 critic

Night Train to Munich (1940)

Not Rated | | Thriller, War | 29 December 1940 (USA)
When Germany invades Czechoslovakia, the German and the British intelligence services try to capture Czech scientist Axel Bomasch, inventor of a new type of armor-plating.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Gordon Wellesley (based on an original story by), Sidney Gilliat (screenplay) (as Sydney Gilliat) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Lockwood ... Anna Bomasch
Rex Harrison ... Dickie Randall a.k.a. Gus Bennett
Paul Henreid ... Karl Marsen (as Paul von Hernried)
Basil Radford ... Charters
Naunton Wayne ... Caldicott
James Harcourt James Harcourt ... Axel Bomasch
Felix Aylmer ... Dr. Fredericks
Wyndham Goldie Wyndham Goldie ... Dryton
Roland Culver ... Roberts
Eliot Makeham ... Schwab
Raymond Huntley ... Kampenfeldt
Austin Trevor ... Capt. Prada (as Austen Trevor)
Kenneth Kent Kenneth Kent ... Controller (as Keneth Kent)
C.V. France ... Admiral Hassinger
Frederick Valk Frederick Valk ... Gestapo Officer (as Fritz Valk)
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Storyline

When the Germans march into Prague, armour-plating inventor Dr Bomasch flees to England. His daughter Anna escapes from arrest to join him, but the Gestapo manage to kidnap them both back to Berlin. As war looms, British secret service agent Gus Bennet follows disguised as a senior German army officer. His ploy is the not unpleasant one of pretending to woo Anna to the German cause. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Laughs! Thrills! Excitement!

Genres:

Thriller | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

29 December 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Night Train See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Full Range Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The very first scene is a fairly accurate depiction of the Berghof, Adolf Hitler's mountainside residence near Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg in Bavaria. The home was famous for its huge picture window which overlooked mountain scenery and was often used to impress visiting foreign VIP visitors. See more »

Goofs

Ulrich Herzog requests "a report of the copy" instead of "a copy of the report," as he surely intended to say. See more »

Quotes

Karl Marsen: I'm afraid I must ask you to drop this little comedy. It's very entertaining but I have certain formalities to attend to.
Anna Bomasch: Comedy ? What do you mean ?
[hands tea to Bennett]
Gus Bennett: Oh, thank you.
Karl Marsen: You're merely pretending to be infatuated with this man. There's no such person as Major Herzoff. He's a British agent trying to get you and your father out of Germany.
Anna Bomasch: You must be crazy.
[to Bennett]
Anna Bomasch: Ulrich !
Gus Bennett: I don't propose to waste the time of the Gestapo denying it.
Karl Marsen: Thank you.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Paul Henreid is listed as Paul von Hernried in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Where Eagles Dare (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Your Heart Skips a Beat
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Johnston
Lyrics by Maurice Sigler
Performed by Rex Harrison and an unidentified woman
See more »

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User Reviews

The Spy Who Went Into the Cold
9 June 2004 | by nk_gillenSee all my reviews

Carol Reed, a film craftsman of the highest order, directed this wartime spy-thriller. Though it may feel routine, there are individual scenes and performers who remain vivid: the egoism of Rex Harrison's British agent; the vulnerability of Margaret Lockwood's wartime refugee; the naked sensitivity of Paul Henreid's villain. All in all, an interesting romantic triangle. The story chronicles events leading up to September 3, 1939 - the day France and England declared war on Germany after Panzers and Stukas invaded Poland.

"Night Train" actually opens in '38, however, as the camera tracks into Hitler's mountain retreat over Berchtesgaden, as we witness the dictator ordering the Czech occupation. Hitler desires not only territory, but the talented scientists within - geniuses such as Axel Bomasch, an industrial wizard who just barely escapes the S.S. and flies safely to England, where he is safeguarded by a British Intelligence officer, code name "Gus Bennett" (Harrison). However, Bomasch's daughter, Anna (Ms. Lockwood), is caught and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration-camp where she befriends fellow inmate Karl Marsen (Henreid). They both successfully escape and sail a tramp steamer for England: Anna, to re-unite with her father; and Marsen, to make contact with those who share his real allegiance - to the Third Reich. With the help of an oculist (Felix Aylmer), planted in England years before by the Abwehr, Marsen abducts both Bomasch and Anna, who are transported to Berlin. Bennett, angry at his own lapse in security, volunteers to travel to Germany disguised as an officer of Hitler's High Command in order to retrieve the pair.

The film then accelerates into a series of tense confrontations between Bennett and those he hopes to dupe, in both Berlin and on a train to Munich. The action culminates in a skillfully directed chase scene climaxing on the Swiss border, where the term "cliff- hanger" takes on literal meaning. Along the way, there appear various secondary characters - the 'team' of Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, for example, are thrown in for their droll, underplaying of some cleverly written dialogue ("No copies of Punch?! Hmmm. Must have sold out."). But the real comic relief is provided by Irene Handl as a German stationmaster who, in one scene, brushes off the "gentlemen," Radford and Wayne, like so much confetti. Her scene-stealing marks the highest moment of levity in the film.

The one element in Carol Reed's storytelling that always distinguished him as a director was a quality he shared with Jean Renoir - the generous feeling he conveyed toward all of his characters. Human flaws and defects such as professional incompetence and blind allegiance are noted but tolerated. The rigid bureaucracy of a dictatorial government is deftly satirized in the character of a German civil servant (Raymond Huntley) who, when confronted with a forged document that escaped his notice, is asked by his Nazi superiors if he knows what this will mean for him. The bureaucrat politely replies, "Yes. It means I shall have to sack my secretary."

And in "Night Train's" final frame, we observe Henreid's Nazi, jilted in more ways than one; yet Reed frames him sorrowfully, as if he were a sort of Universal Everyloser. Reed's sympathy, again, extends to all. Such unusual compassion on the part of a director is what finally separates "Night Train" from other propaganda films of the early Forties.


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