• 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

  by Gilbert B Norman
"Since You Went Away", a 1944 Selznick "homefront" flick, aired last evening on TCM. I watched it in place of "Extreme Trains".

While the production is tediously long and could easily be reduced from its three hour running time to two be eliminating much of the repetitive "soapsuds". It did have, even if not exactly authentic, rail scenes.

While the film's storyline location is undisclosed (its actual location was various Hollywood sets), it is somewhere in Upstate New York - my guess is Buffalo. As far as the "rail action", let's just say they gave it a try but came up short. In the flick, the rail scenes were obviously Lionels, and New York Central #2, The Pacemaker in real life, became The Pathfinder. The set depicting the train station did show departure signs for The Twentieth Century and the Ohio State Limited - at least someone at the studio found out the nemes of real NYC trains.

But the best deference to real life I found was that the fictional "Pathfinder", in front of which Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker had a tearful soapsuds "Good bye I love you darling" drill (it was goodbye; guess who got whacked at Salerno in the Sicilly campaign) departed at 1201AM. One would expect that Hollywood mentality would think of "the midnight train", but some associate producer somehow knew that there is no "midnight" on the railroad.

All told "Mrs. Miniver' is a far more worthwhile "homefront" flick; "The Best Years of Our Lives" (both are William Wyler films) is my pick for the best war related flick; it too pushes three hours in length but needs that time to properly develop the various subplots all related to the story. The best war, i.e. battles, flick i know is "Paths of Glory".
  by 2nd trick op
Well, since we're on the subject of military films, let's add Take the High Ground (MGM-1953), an officially-sanctioned feature, shot on location at Fort Bliss near El Paso, with a steam-powered SP troop train discharging recruits at a deserted siding.
  by Gilbert B Norman
The movie "Slumdog Millionaire" was noted in Frank Rich's Sunday Times column. Here is a "brief passage'; sounds like a nice story with a little rail "action" thrown in for good measure.

  • DURING the Great Depression, American moviegoers seeking escape could ogle platoons of glamorous chorus girls in “Gold Diggers of 1933.” Our feel-good movie of the year is “Slumdog Millionaire,” a Dickensian tale in which we root for an impoverished orphan from Mumbai’s slums to hit the jackpot on the Indian edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
    It’s a virtuoso feast of filmmaking by Danny Boyle, but it’s also the perfect fairy tale for our hard times. The hero labors as a serf in the toilet of globalization: one of those mammoth call centers Westerners reach when ringing an 800 number to, say, check on credit card debt. When he gets his unlikely crack at instant wealth, the whole system is stacked against him, including the corrupt back office of a slick game show too good to be true.

    We cheer the young man on screen even if we’ve lost the hope to root for ourselves. The vicarious victory of a third world protagonist must be this year’s stocking stuffer. The trouble with “Slumdog Millionaire” is that it, like all classic movie fables, comes to an end
I'll be looking for it in about a year on either HoBO or Starz.
  by Death Star
Biker Boyz has BNSF 2448 in the film.

Wrongfully Accused a comedy movie spoof of the Fugitive has a GE Dash 7 unit a former BC Rail init a B36-7 I think, equipped with new "plunger couplers." In the movie it works for a railraod called the "Friggin Express."

Bad Boys II An epic scene with an FEC Freight almost hitting a van and slamming into a commuter train with a bad guy getting many volts through him due to a third rail.
  by Death Star
I am told Amtrak didn't want to have any part in the movie "Silver Streak". That is why they used CP equipment. But Amtrak DID have a part in the movie. During the part when the officer is talking to the control tower operator, when the Silver Streak is now a runaway, in the background of the control tower a Santa Fe tiger stripe switcher is pulling two Amtrak Phase I baggage cars. Wonder if Amtrak noticed that.
  by atsf sp
The Gene Wilder Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a streetcar in it. But I don't know where and what.
  by scotty269
"The Day The Earth Stood Still" 2008 remake features quite a bit of railroading. The "alien" is shown in Newark Penn, plus several stainless steel railcars are shown but I cannot identify them. Also the Acela Express is shown towards the end of the movie when all of the power is shutting down, they show the Acela coming to a stop due to the lack of catenary power.
  by atsf sp
Fillmore & Western 3502 in the new Get Smart and CTA 3224 in the Fugitive plus other engines that get destroyed.
  by atsf sp
I saw a preview for the movie Public Enemies about John Dillinger and Milwaukee Road 261 is in it.
  by scharnhorst
The Last Detail filmed in 1973 staring Jack Nicholson shows views of Penn Station as well as quite a bit of PENN CENTRAL in the movie infact parts of it were filmed on the PC and its passenger trains.
  by 2nd trick op
It's been at least three years since I tried to identify the film described below, wih no response, so let's give it another try;

It's definitiely a 'B' movie, a boxing story made around the time The Harder They Fall (Bogart's last work) called the entire sport into question.

In one scene, the protagonist, a young Latino fighter, is setting up a garden-hose shower in his backyard when he draws a whistle blast and a friendly wave from the crew of a passing EsPee freight, drawn by a late-model cab-forward. This is the only time I'm aware of a cab-forward depicted on film in revenue service. (And in the light of hindsight, I doubt that the sound track matches a true "AC" exhaust, or whistle).

The other forgotten film was British, set during World War II and involving the movement of some explosive cargo. It was notable in that it dipcted the actual process of moving a couple of "goods wagons", through a manual interlocking plant, with plenty of attention given to the technology.

Any takers?
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
The Hucksters has reasonably authentic looking sets showing the interior of the "1937 Century" and footage of a Dreyfuss styled Hudson.
  by Marty Feldner
Yeah, that Dreyfuss Hudson made me sit up and take notice tonight...
  by Gilbert B Norman
I guess Mr. Feldner, you also saw Hucksters aired on TCM last evening.
  by Marty Feldner
Actually, I switched over from Antiques Roadshow- just in time to catch the 'Century' westbound along the Hudson River. Next time it comes around on TCM, I'll watch the whole thing.

That 4-6-4 was making some serious time, and did you notice the clear stack?
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 12