Movie Review: Night Train to Munich (1940)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1940 movie starring Margaret Lockwood and Rex Harrison.

Synopsis: A Czechoslovakian scientist and his daughter are taken prisoner by German Nazis seeking to steal his formula for a new armor plating. Their only hope is British secret agent Dickie Randall, who has traveled to Germany dressed as a Nazi officer in an effort to escort the two of them to neutral Switzerland.

Review

I tried to watch this movie a few weeks ago but only managed to watch 5 minutes of it before I was interrupted. So, since my wife had to work last night and I had some time to do so while waiting up for her, I decided to try to watch this film again. I succeeded but, after finally seeing it, my overall opinion of it is, admittedly, mixed.

As far as the overall plot goes, I thought the movie was exceptional. Randall's (Harrison) escape plan was much more complex than I was expecting and, because he had to pretend both to be a Nazi sympathizer and, at the same time, pretend to be recruiting the daughter (Lockwood), there were times when it was difficult to fully trust him or, at minimum, fully understand why the daughter didn't trust him.

I also thought the twist on the train, involving two British citizens recognizing Randall and nearly blowing his escape plan, was an interesting one. If nothing else, it kept the movie from becoming too predictable.

I think my biggest complaint about this movie was the lack of action. This is likely just because I've been spoiled by James Bond movies but, considering this was a movie about a British secret agent entering Nazi Germany, I honestly expected, at very least, to see much more gunfire exchanged. And, while I couldn't, in good conscience, describe this movie as boring, I was pretty disappointed it wasn't just a little more exciting.

I also wasn't overly impressed with the Nazi bad guys in this movie, mostly because they were a little too easy to fool. Granted, based on when this movie was made, I wasn't really expecting the filmmakers to portray the Nazis as geniuses. But, it would have been nice to have seen at least a little more skepticism from them, giving Randall more of a challenge.

Final Opinion

As I mentioned, it's not a James Bond movie and doesn't have a ton of action in it. But, overall, it is a pretty decent war/spy movie and I would recommend taking the time to watch it at least once.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 11/19/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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