The Battle of the Rails

1946 [FRENCH]

Drama / War

2
IMDb Rating 7 10 909

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 02, 2021 at 04:12 PM

Director

Cast

Charles Boyer as Narrator
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
756.1 MB
968*720
fre 2.0
NR
25 fps
1 hr 22 min
P/S 1 / 5
1.37 GB
1440*1072
fre 2.0
NR
25 fps
1 hr 22 min
P/S 1 / 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by johnek-bloomfield 7 / 10

A tribute to resistance saboteurs that is neither too didactic or sentimental

Based on real life events that occurred between the Normandy Landings and the liberation, La Bataille du Rail was commissioned by the Associations of the Resistance soon after the end of the Second World War. That a war film would be put into production so soon after the end of the war and that it would prove so successful with a public that lived through it suggests a desire to show the extent of the resistance's achievements and the pride of the French.

However, Clément carefully avoids making the film too didactic or sentimental. We can see how the ruthlessness of the occupying forces in rooting out the saboteurs and their anti-Semitism is not overplayed as their portrayal seems appropriate to a modern audience not directly scarred by the events shown. Another way in which he achieves this is through the way the camera stays relatively detached from the action, showing the events almost like a documentary rather than forcing us to identify with any of the characters. It has been said that the cast was made up of unprofessional actors and in some cases real railwaymen. This adds to the realism and creates an effect where no one film star stands out as an obvious "hero", enforcing a message of "ordinary men doing what they had to".

Reviewed by MartinHafer 9 / 10

An exceptional tribute to some brave men...

René Clément directed this exceptional film which captures an important but often ignored part of the Allied war effort in WWII. It chronicles the efforts by the French railway workers to hinder the German war machine. What makes the film work wonderfully is the non-professional actors--like the Neo-realist actors in post-war Italian films (such as by DeSica and Rossellini). This gives the movie a great sense of realism--almost like a documentary that was somehow filmed as events really took place--though it was made just after the war.

The film begins sometime after the German occupation began--it's never exactly certain. During this time, random acts of sabotage occur but they are mostly annoying and are seemingly unorganized. However, partway through the film, the Resistance receives word that the Normandy invasion has occurred. Suddenly, the full extent of the French Resistance is obvious, as the entire effort to use the rails to reinforce the German army are frustrated in many, many ways--ranging from sabotaging the tracks and equipment to even attacks on the trains themselves by partisans.

"La Bataille du Rail" ("The Battle of the Rails") works very well--mostly because in addition to the non-actors working in the film, the director and writers (one of which was the director himself) used a lot of tense little vignettes in the film to draw in the viewer. Perhaps some today might find it all a bit boring (after all, they are more interested, perhaps, in seeing the newest Brandon Frazier film), but as a history teacher, I think it's a must-see! Wonderful.

By the way, you can't blame the film makers for this, but the print I saw was pretty shabby. It had a lot of scratches and the white captions were poor--blending into the scenes at times and also, occasionally, mistranslated or using jargon that is too technical (full of railroad terms and jargon). I would LOVE to see this film restored and re-captioned!

Reviewed by FilmCriticLalitRao 10 / 10

René Clement has shot one of the best films about trains and wars.

For cinema enthusiasts, it is important to learn that the value of trains in the field of cinema has always been justly understood by filmmakers as truthful portrayals of trains have been extremely useful in making films which have become extremely popular with critics as well as with viewers. It would be appropriate to state that most of the films about war have an air of authenticity due to the realistic depiction of trains in them. It would not be an exaggeration to state that war films are popular due to the portrayal of trains in them. La Bataille Du Rail/The Battle of the Rails is the best example of a war film with trains and their impact on war as its major plot. The success of this film is due to the efforts of ordinary railway workers in war time France who were quick to realize that the damage to railway system in occupied France would be a key weapon in their fight against Nazi Germany. Those who favor technology in cinema would be shocked to learn how professionally the massive annihilation of trains was carried out in "The Battle of the Rails" despite the evident lack of technology. In 1946, this film by René Clément won a jury prize at Cannes Film Festival. In recent times, La Bataille Du Rail/The Battle of the Rails has been hailed as one of the classics of world cinema as it was shown in "Cannes Classics" section during 63rd Cannes International Film Festival held in 2010. Hardcore cinema enthusiasts would be thrilled to learn that it has been fully restored by INA in France where it can also be watched on DVD as well as Blu Ray formats.

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