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Les pirates du rail (1938) DVD

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Les pirates du rail (1938)




 Arno-Charles Brun (dialogue), Christian-Jaque (scenario)


 Charles Vanel, Suzy Prim, Erich von Stroheim
Among Christian-Jaque's huge filmography there is an appreciable amount of work where the director pays tribute to great men :"La Symphonie Fantastique" (Hector Berlioz),"D'Homme à Hommes " (the Red Cross)"Destinées" (3rd sketch:Lysistrata invents "make love not war" years B.C.) "Si Tous Les Gars Du Monde" (international solidarity). His last work was a documentary about his peer Marcel Carné (Carné ,L'Homme à la Caméra).

"Les pirates Du rail" is his first attempt in that direction, and if it's not always successful, blame it on a desultory script. At the time, writer Hergé did a much better job about China in his comic strip "Tintin:The Blue Lotus". One should add he was helped by a Chinese student who knew what he was talking about.

The story revolves around the building of a railroad track across China, this country where "they kill our priests and burn down our missions"(Simone Renant's words). Charles Vanel portrays the big boss, who would resist till death, if those "trainjackers " tried to destroy this way to civilization.

There are good sequences: the train coming into the station, full of dead bodies; Suzy Prim becoming mad; Simone Renant entering the governor's office and realizing he is dead.

But there is drivel too: how could you believe that Erich Von Stroheim, made up as an Asian, studied at West Point and wants to take over the dead governor's duties?
Here is the link to the film at the Internet Movie database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206210/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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  1. An interesting old movie 4 Star Review

    Posted by on Aug 28th 2017

    This movie relates the history of pirates on the train line between Indochina (now Vietnam) and Yunnan province in China.
    The movie was not shot there, but on the line NIce Digne in southern France.
    It is a testimony of this epoca

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