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Monday, April 9, 2018

Von Ryan's Express (1965)

As the war in Europe is turning in the Allied's favor, an American pilot (Frank Sinatra) is shot down in Italy. Placed in a POW camp, he masterminds a daring escape utilizing a train going from Italy to Switzerland with the Nazis in pursuit. Based on the novel by David Westheimer and directed by Mark Robson (VALLEY OF THE DOLLS). This is a first rate thrilling WWII adventure film along the lines of THE GREAT ESCAPE. Handsomely shot on Italian locations rather than the 20th Century Fox backlot by William H. Daniels (CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF), this features Sinatra's last really fine acting job. The film is gripping and tough minded (jingoism is practically non existent) and the train escape through Nazi tendrils is pure adrenaline. Even if you dislike war films, this one is hard to resist. There's a fine underscore by Jerry Goldsmith. With Trevor Howard, James Brolin, Adolfo Celi, Brad Dexter, John Leyton, Edward Mulhare, Sergio Fantoni, Ivan Triesault, John Van Dreelen and the film's sole female, Raffaella Carra.

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