Monday, February 6, 2017

A Movie You Might Have Missed #62: Night Train to Munich

Charters: I bought a copy of Mein Kampf. Occurred to me it might shed a spot of light on all this... how d'ye do. Ever read it?

Caldicott: Never had the time.

Charters: I understand they give a copy to all the bridal couples over here.

Caldicott: Oh, I don't think it's that sort of book, old man.

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 – not unpleasant one – is pretending to woo Anna to the German cause.
This was a complete pleasure. Why is this gem not better known? My daughter rented it to see what Carol Reed's other movies were like (besides The Third Man). Night Train to Munich has witty dialogue, spy story action, suspense, a romantic hero who is detached and narcissistic, unexpected plot twists, and two bird-brained Englishmen who drive the plot in unexpected ways. (Their reaction to learning that England and Germany is at war is priceless.)

When you consider that this was made in 1939 (in theaters in 1940), then the continual, subtle jabs at the Germans become even more interesting. It's like Ernst Lubistch's To Be or Not to Be in using humor to make points but, of course, completely different.

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