New release: The Criterion Collection announced their September Blu-ray titles yesterday and I was so pleased to see Night Train to Munich (1940) on the list. Directed by Carol Reed (The Third Man/1949), this spy yarn was produced in the early days of WWII and deals adeptly with conventions around a kidnapped scientist and his daughter, and the undercover agent who struggles to rescue them from the Nazis. The film captures some of the uncertainty of the period while maintaining the light tone of a romantic thriller. As a Noel Coward fan, I enjoy the choice to make the secret operative (Rex Harrison) a songster selling sheet music with his smart crooning. Carol Reed once again delivers a visually stunning classic that will appeal to fans of Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang. In fact, fans of Hitch's The Lady Vanishes (1938) will recognize the return of Charters and Caldicott- those comedic cricket fans on holiday, as well as actress Margaret Lockwood (as a new character). If Spy Vibers are familiar with Hitchcock's use of climactic set-pieces, you can look forward to Reed's dramatic cable-car battle above the snowy Alps! From the press release: Night Train to Munich, from writers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat and director Carol Reed, is a twisting, turning, cloak-and-dagger delight. Paced like an out-of-control locomotive, this gripping, occasionally comic confection takes viewers on a World War II–era journey from Prague to England to the Swiss Alps, as Nazis pursue a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood), who are being aided by a debonair British undercover agent, played by Rex Harrison. This captivating adventure—which also features Casablanca’s Paul Henreid—mixes comedy, romance, and thrills with enough skill and cleverness to give the Master of Suspense himself pause. More details here. Also check out the detailed movie review by my sister site Double O Section. Enjoy!
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