The Morning After: Jan. 13, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what I’ve seen over the past week either in film or television. On the film side, if I have written a full length review already, I will post a link to that review. Otherwise, I’ll give a brief snippet of my thoughts on the film with a full review to follow at some point later. For television shows, seasons and what not, I’ll post individual comments here about each of them as I see fit.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Train

Having started as a TV director, John Frankenheimer burst onto the scene years before, but came to Oscar prominence in 1962 with the twin releases of The Manchurian Candidate and The Birdman of Alcatraz, acclaimed films that showcased a talented director emerging on the big screen like few others. After following it up with Seven Days in May, most directors would find a speed bump to slow them down, but Frankenheimer did not.

The Train is the harrowing tale of a group of French resistance fighters in World War II whose assignment to a prominent train station in Paris lead them into a dark challenge of protecting monumental works of art from being carted away to Germany. Burt Lancaster abandons all attempts at a French action to portray a conflicted saboteur concerned with his compatriots’ death and confused by the devotion to protecting items that have no value when compared to the loss of human life.

There are some interesting concepts discussed in the film, though few answers. Looking back, we see what was done as a great service to future generations, yet regret that it meant the deaths of so many. Life is as irreplaceable as art and their values are impossible to compare. We applaud the courage and perseverance of the French during a great time of turmoil under German occupation and no decisions such as those made in the film could have been made lightly nor without great sacrifice.

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