Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Sean Connery looking diabolical
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (aka The First Great Train Robbery/1978). Director: Michael Crichton.

In days gone by a man named Pierce (Sean Connery) puts together a crew that plans to steal gold off of a moving train. First he has to manage to make copies of four golden keys that will provide access to the booty, no mean feat. There are many assorted complications embroiling the likes of associates Agar (Donald Sutherland of The Day of the Locust) and Miriam (Lesley-Anne Down of The Pink Panther Strikes Again), as well as others. But even if Pierce succeeds in robbing the train, will he get away with it completely or did he overlook one particular detail? Novelist Michael Crichton ["Micro"] adapted and directed his own novel and doesn't do a bad job with it. The picture is intriguing and has several very suspenseful sequences, especially when Pierce has to climb over the tops of the railway cars ducking low bridges [one amazing shot has Connery nearly getting it in the head]. There's also an excellent sequence when one of the conspirators engineers an escape from Newgate prison while a hanging is occurring in the courtyard. As usual with Crichton, there are no real characters in this, just types, but the acting is more than adequate.

Verdict: Entertaining Victorian caper flick. ***.


angelman66 said...

LOVED this one. One of Connery's very best, and the top of this very popular 70s genre. Forgot that the great Michael Crichton directed it. His film Coma is another of my all-time favorites.
Looking forward to seeing this one again, it has been too long.

William said...

It's a lot of fun and some fine, suspenseful sequences. I have to see "Coma" again one of these days, although I liked Robin Cook's novel better.