Monday, August 1, 2011

The Great Train Robbery (1979)

Director: Michael Crichton

Starring: Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Lesley-Anne Down, Alan Webb, Malcolm Terris, Robert Lang

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Never have so few taken so much from so many.

Plot: In 1855, Edward Pierce plans to do something that has never been done - rob a moving train. His target is the monthly shipment of gold destined to the Crimea for British soldiers who are there fighting the Russians. The £25,000 in gold is stored in two locked Chubb safes that requires four separate keys to be opened. One key is held by the President of the bank; the second by its senior manager; and the two remaining keys by the station master. Along with his accomplices, Agar and Miriam, he sets about acquiring each of them. Once in hand, they must now find a way to break into the luggage compartment where the safes are located, off-load the gold and then go about their merry way without being caught. It doesn't quite go as planned but a good thief always have a back-up plan.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? With pleasure.

Sean Connery is the man. He's so roguish it's fun. Here he's having a blast and we're along for the ride. Everyone else is great, too, but this is Connery's show. The first third of the picture is brisk, witty and hilarious. If you're in at this point you're in for the duration. Jerry Goldsmith's score is absolutely delightful, refreshing and has all the energy of a speeding train. Why don't they make scores like this anymore? They seemed to have died off with Goldsmith. Sigh.

Apparently the ending is completely different than Crichton's novel. I read the comparison and I prefer the film's ending. Sure, it simplifies things quite a bit but the movie is already nearly two hours long and adding another twenty to wrap it up would have gone too far. Anyway, I found myself laughing my ass off and forgetting how much fun this flick is. It's been twenty years since the last time and I'm not going to wait that long again.

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