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September 3, 2016

Night Train

All aboard for the Harvard Film Archive’s annual all-night movie marathon, this year dedicated to that inexhaustible genre, the train film. Beginning with the Lumière brothers, the train has remained an object of fascination for the cinema, with filmmakers creativelytransforming the primal thrill and allure of rail travel into narrative devices, using the steam whistle and rhythmic chug of the engines to drive the story ever forward and loading each compartment with new twists, suspects, surprises. Among the films gathered in Night Train are three splendid examples inspired by the train as a vehicle for coincidence, or destiny: Howard Hawks’ screwball classic Twentieth Century, Carol Reed’s mystery thriller Night Train to Munich and Richard Fleischer’s taut noir The Narrow Margin. Satyajit Ray’s underappreciated Nayak offers a novel turn on the train film, with a kind of chamber room drama of a matinee idol gently lured by an intrepid woman reporter into an unexpectedly revealing and surprising interview on a train to Delhi. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, meanwhile, returns us to a more classical mode, using the train as a means of accelerating suspense, action and mystery while Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi epic Snowpiercer dramatically raises the ante by transforming the eponymous train into a metaphor for class inequity and possible apocalypse.


$12 Special Event Tickets
Saturday September 3 at 7pm

Twentieth Century

Directed by Howard Hawks. With John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly
US 1934, 35mm, b/w, 93 min

Print courtesy Sony Pictures.

 

Night Train to Munich

Directed by Carol Reed. With Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid
UK 1940, 35mm, b/w, 95 min

Print courtesy Criterion.

The Narrow Margin

Directed by Richard Fleischer. With Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
US 1952, 35mm, b/w, 72 min

Print courtesy Warner Bros.

 

Nayak

Directed by Satyajit Ray. With Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Bireswar Sen
India 1966, 35mm, b/w, 120 min. Bengali with English subtitles

Restored by the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project at the Academy Film Archive with funding from the Film Foundation. Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Directed by Joseph Sargent. With Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam
US 1974, 35mm, color, 124 min

Print courtesy Park Circus.

Snowpiercer

Directed by Bong Joon-ho. With Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton
South Korea 2013, 35mm, color, 126 min

Print courtesy Sony Pictures.

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