Night Train (1940)

90 or 93 mins | Drama | 18 October 1940

Director:

Carol Reed

Producer:

Edward Black

Cinematographer:

Otto Kanturek

Production Designer:

Vetchinsky

Production Company:

Twentieth Century Productions
Full page view
HISTORY

This film was released in Great Britain as Gestapo and then as Night Train to Munich . The Fox trade advertising billing sheet lists In Disguise as another alternate title, and a letter contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library states that the picture was also known as Crooks Tour . The title of Gordon Wellesley's original story was "Report on a Fugitive." Although there is a copyright statement on the film's title card, it is not listed in the copyright register. This picture, produced by Twentieth Century Productions for Twentieth Century-Fox, was distributed in the United Kingdom by M-G-M to fulfill quota requirements. The MPH review, dated 8 Jun 1940, praised the film's topicality; the London trade showing occurred just after the evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk and the fall of France to Germany. Noting that the film exploited "the spirit and events of the day before yesterday," the reviewer stated: "Shown to a trade show audience the film went down as well as any motion picture might be expected to do with war a hundred and fifty miles away." Gordon Wellesley received an Academy Award nomination in the Writing (Original Story) category for his work on the film.
       Many reviewers commented on the similarities between Night Train and The Lady Vanishes , a 1938 Gaumont-British Gainsborough production directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which was also written by Sydney Gilliat and Frank Launder. It starred Margaret Lockwood and also featured Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne as "Charters" and "Caldicott." Radford and Wayne played very ... More Less

This film was released in Great Britain as Gestapo and then as Night Train to Munich . The Fox trade advertising billing sheet lists In Disguise as another alternate title, and a letter contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library states that the picture was also known as Crooks Tour . The title of Gordon Wellesley's original story was "Report on a Fugitive." Although there is a copyright statement on the film's title card, it is not listed in the copyright register. This picture, produced by Twentieth Century Productions for Twentieth Century-Fox, was distributed in the United Kingdom by M-G-M to fulfill quota requirements. The MPH review, dated 8 Jun 1940, praised the film's topicality; the London trade showing occurred just after the evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk and the fall of France to Germany. Noting that the film exploited "the spirit and events of the day before yesterday," the reviewer stated: "Shown to a trade show audience the film went down as well as any motion picture might be expected to do with war a hundred and fifty miles away." Gordon Wellesley received an Academy Award nomination in the Writing (Original Story) category for his work on the film.
       Many reviewers commented on the similarities between Night Train and The Lady Vanishes , a 1938 Gaumont-British Gainsborough production directed by Alfred Hitchcock, which was also written by Sydney Gilliat and Frank Launder. It starred Margaret Lockwood and also featured Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne as "Charters" and "Caldicott." Radford and Wayne played very similar characters in the 1945 Ealing Studios film Dead of Night . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
2-Nov-40
---
Film Daily
25 Oct 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 40
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 41
p. 3.
Kinematograph Weekly
23-May-40
---
Motion Picture Daily
18-Jun-40
---
Motion Picture Herald
8 Jun 40
p. 37, 40
New York Times
30 Dec 40
p. 21.
New York Times
2-Feb-47
---
Variety
5 Jun 40
p. 14.
Variety
10-Jul-40
---
Variety
24-Jul-40
---
Variety
30 Oct 40
p. 14.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Crooks Tour
Gestapo
In Disguise
Night Train to Munich
Release Date:
18 October 1940
Premiere Information:
London opening: May 1940
Production Date:
at Gaumont-British Studios, Shepherd's Bush, London
Physical Properties:
Sound
British Acoustic Film Full-Range Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 93
Length(in feet):
8,378
Length(in reels):
10
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Nazis invade Prague in 1939, and inventor Axel Bomasch, who is developing armor plating that is essential for Allied defense, attempts to flee to England with his daughter Anna. Anna is captured, however, and taken to a concentration camp, where her captors interrogate her about Bomasch's location. She refuses to divulge what little information she has and soon becomes friends with Karl Marsen, a teacher imprisoned for his anti-Nazi views. Karl helps her escape, and together they make the dangerous journey to London, where Karl contacts his friend, Dr. John Fredericks. Karl and Fredericks speak in private, and it is revealed that Karl is a Gestapo agent who has gained Anna's confidence in order to follow her as she searches for her father. Karl advises her to place a newspaper ad in the personals section, telling her father that she is in England, and soon she receives a mysterious phone call instructing her to go to Brightbourne to meet a man named Gus Bennett. Anna does not reveal her destination to Karl, but she is followed, nonetheless, as she meets Gus, a brash English intelligence officer disguised as a seaside singer. Anna is reunited with her father, who is now working at Dartland Naval base, but she soon grows weary of the restrictions Gus places on her freedom to protect her father. The two quarrel over Karl, whom Anna wishes to contact but Gus suspects, and Gus's fears are realized when Karl arranges the kidnapping of the Bomaschs. Anna is heartbroken upon learning Karl's true identity and outraged when he threatens to put her in a camp if Bomasch does not work ... +


The Nazis invade Prague in 1939, and inventor Axel Bomasch, who is developing armor plating that is essential for Allied defense, attempts to flee to England with his daughter Anna. Anna is captured, however, and taken to a concentration camp, where her captors interrogate her about Bomasch's location. She refuses to divulge what little information she has and soon becomes friends with Karl Marsen, a teacher imprisoned for his anti-Nazi views. Karl helps her escape, and together they make the dangerous journey to London, where Karl contacts his friend, Dr. John Fredericks. Karl and Fredericks speak in private, and it is revealed that Karl is a Gestapo agent who has gained Anna's confidence in order to follow her as she searches for her father. Karl advises her to place a newspaper ad in the personals section, telling her father that she is in England, and soon she receives a mysterious phone call instructing her to go to Brightbourne to meet a man named Gus Bennett. Anna does not reveal her destination to Karl, but she is followed, nonetheless, as she meets Gus, a brash English intelligence officer disguised as a seaside singer. Anna is reunited with her father, who is now working at Dartland Naval base, but she soon grows weary of the restrictions Gus places on her freedom to protect her father. The two quarrel over Karl, whom Anna wishes to contact but Gus suspects, and Gus's fears are realized when Karl arranges the kidnapping of the Bomaschs. Anna is heartbroken upon learning Karl's true identity and outraged when he threatens to put her in a camp if Bomasch does not work for the Nazis. Meanwhile, Gus has infiltrated the German high command by posing as Major Ulrich Herzog, an engineer. Gus intimates to Captain Prada, the controller, and Admiral Hassinger that he had a love affair with Anna four years earlier and can therefore persuade her to effect Bomasch's cooperation. Karl is jealous when Gus arranges to spend the night with Anna in a hotel, and he foils Gus's plans for escape the next morning by insisting on escorting them on the train to Munich. At the train station, an Englishman named Caldicott, who is leaving Germany with his friend Charters, recognizes Gus as Dickie Randall, with whom he went to school. Gus's Nazi uniform and avoidance of Caldicott makes him suspicious, especially after the train is temporarily stopped, and he and Charters overhear Karl confer with headquarters. They realize from Karl's telephone call that Gus is an undercover agent who is in grave danger now that his identity has been discovered. The timid pair determine to help Gus and stowaway on the train when it leaves. Caldicott and Charters inform Gus of the danger and agree to help him. When the train reaches Munich, Charters and Caldicott aid Gus in tieing up Karl and two guards, and they all escape in a car. They are pursued by Karl and his men to the Swiss border, where Gus holds off the soldiers as Anna and the others escape on an aerial tram. After wounding Karl in the leg, Gus makes a dangerous mid-air leap to the tram bound for Switzerland. He and Anna then finally acknowledge their feelings for one another with an embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.