• Railroads In The Movies, Part II

  • Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.
Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

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  by David Benton
"into the wild" has many freight trains in the califionian desert going past . the main character hops a ride and is beaten up by a railroad "bull" as well . later on it switches to Alaskan passenger trains .
  by PClark
I recently obtained a DVD of the 1934 Howard Hawks movie "Twentieth Century"

Interesting bit of trivia was that the image of a train in the Credits was the Union Pacific M-10000 (later the "City of Salina").
Certainly the latest thing on rails in 1934 but hardly the Century!

Also, nobody has mentioned the 1984 "Chattanooga Choo Choo" starring Barbara Eden and George Kennedy.

Not among the greatest movies of all time but a lot of lightweight fun.
  by kaitoku
The movie "Super 8" has a pivotal beginning scene in the form of a train crash, however, there is one glaring prototypical error- the use of red lights that line the track in succession- in real life, you don't place red lights near the track unless it's a line signal. Perhaps this has something to do with directors JJ Abrams love of that color. You can see it in this clip:
  by Aa3rt
I watched the last half of a movie titled 49th Parallel on Turner Classic Movies yesterday. Released in 1941, prior to the United States' involvement in World War II, the story is about a German U-boat that is sunk in Canada's Hudson Bay. A small band of survivors from the U-boat make their way to shore and most of the movie is about their attempts to remain undercover while trying to make their way back to Germany.

The suvivors keep being exposed and captured or killed until only the U-boat's captain remains. The final portion of the movie has the captain hiding in the baggage car of a Canadian National passenger train bound for Niagara Falls, Ontario. When the train arrives in Niagara Falls, the passenger cars are cut off from the train with the baggage car, pulled by a CN 4-6-2, destined to go across the Niagara River to Niagara Falls, NY where the captain hopes to get off the train in the then officially neutral US, where he plans to make his way to the German consulate and eventually back to Germany.

However his plans are thwarted when a Canadian Army deserter who joined the army to fight the Germans, not stand guard duty at a Canadian base, also makes his way into the baggage car.

Great black and white scenes of the train as it pulls into Niagara Falls, Ontario, where Canadian customs officials enter the baggage car, inspect the contents (With both the German and the Canadian in hiding.) and close and lock a gate preventing access to the contents. The stowaways have a confrontation while the locomotive and baggage car cross the international bridge and when the American customs officials enter the baggage car and discover the pair, they send the train back to the Canadian side, informing Canadian customs via telephone that there are two undeclared items in the car.

The movie closes with scenes of the train backing to Canada across the same international bridge with the implication that in the baggage car the Canadian Army deserter is finally getting his opportunity to fight the Germans.

More information on the movie here:


EDIT: Ah, good ol' Youtube! I found this clip, showing a Canadian Pacific passenger train in the Canadian Rockies and the final scenes I detailed above in this clip, approximately 15 minutes long:

  by Gilbert B Norman

I find it difficult to believe that Amtrak has permitted the use of their liveries and trademarks in this upcoming film that, from what i can see, will rank with Silver Streak II in absurdity.

Amtrak wisely stayed far away from the latter; I am surprised that they have appaently sanctioned the subject film.
  by 3rdrail
Aa3rt wrote:However his plans are thwarted when a Canadian Army deserter who joined the army to fight the Germans, not stand guard duty at a Canadian base, also makes his way into the baggage car.
I watched the You Tube "Readers Digest Version" and enjoyed it. Those Canadian steamers were gorgeous. I understand that there are a few restored still up and running. Do you remember Massey from the old Dr. Kilgore series, Art. Are you old enough to remember that ? Massey was Dr. Kilgore's supervisor, an old crotchety senior physician at the hospital where Kilgore had his weekly adventures. I think that he was placed there to accentuate Kilgore's youthfulness. I knew that the soldier looked familiar but couldn't quite place him for a few seconds - then, I remembered the Dr. Kilgore series as a wee kiddo ! hahaha!!!
  by Marty Feldner
I remember the series well, but it was Dr. Kildare, not Kilgore. That's a college in Texas.
  by 3rdrail
You're right, Marty ! It was Kildare ! (I was thinking Kildare but writing Kilgore (??) Hmm.) Thanks.:-)
  by Marty Feldner
Guess you didn't have your pantograph hat on, huh? :-)
  by 3rdrail
That's the answer, Marty ! My error was caused by electrical interference from that "Panto-Cap" ! :-(
  by GSC
Watched "Unstoppable" last night. I checked it out on Wiki later for details. Based on a true story, it was entertaining, but full of things that wouldn't be done in real life. Hollywoodization. I still liked it tho.

"Danger Lights" is an all-time fave. Especially when he climbs down the tender ladder to stir up that hot journal, while the train appears to be going about 400 mph.

As far as realism, I like "Emperor Of The North (Pole)" the best.
  by Leo_Ames
I also watched 49th Parallel when it aired on TCM back in July.

I'm not sure if we're supposed to give our opinions on movies in this thread, or just summarize one when it has some relation to railroads. I wanted to like that movie, but beyond the train scenes, it didn't really do it for me. The way the German submariners were protrayed just didn't seem real. They were portrayed as far too fanatical to be halfway believable, even for a time when the much of the world was at war with them and we were just weeks or months away from officially joining it later that year. And the acting by the actors portraying the Germans didn't help matters.

I generally love wartime movies from those years, but that one didn't do much for me.

A movie from a couple of years later that I do love, titled 'Since You Went Away', has a goodbye scene at a train station that has became well remembered in subsequent years. Far too many people endured something like that in real life during those years, no doubt. It stars one of my favorite actresses, Claudette Colbert, and Monty Wooley, Shirley Temple and some other names I can't recall off hand. Here's a link to the section with the train scene (The full run of the movie is posted there on YouTube, I believe it's in the public domain).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO8t9ttv ... sults_main

Hollywood didn't get much better than that movie. I've watched it several times over the years (It's regularly aired on TCM) and always enjoy it. And they also don't get much sadder than this movie (It's about a family and their friends coping with problems on the homefront during the war such as their husband/father going away to fight, a friend of the family dying in a training accident, etc.).

It's probably in my top 10 list if I were to make one.
  by 3rdrail
I can see just from a couple of minutes viewing your link that that's an interesting movie. Just a couple of observations. Of particular note which probably is more special now than it was at the time that the dialog was written are the casual comments that we hear throughout the railroad station. They are indicative of the period and as such, sort of a "time capsule". They were placed in the movie by a very far-seeing writer as people speak differently now. Secondly, I noticed what appears to be a "Red Cap" walking by with his cap device (badge) affixed to the side of his cap and not the front. In spite of the fact that this is a movie, I have a feeling that this gentleman is a real Red Cap or is based upon a real one. I have never seen a railroad hat device worn in that manner. Do we know what station this segment was filmed at ?
  by Leo_Ames
I don't know what train station that is and wasn't able to find out using a search engine.

Now that you raised my curiousity, I'd love to know myself.
  by 3rdrail
It would seem that they were suggesting Cleveland with the route that the announced "Pathfinder" was going to take. The question is I guess, was it really or was it a Hollywood sound stage ? If I was forced to bet, I'd say soundstage because of the vintage and the fact that there is a lot of dialog there which a railroad terminal would not be conducive to record in.
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