Von Ryan's Express

( 3 )

Overview

This brash, exciting World War II action film starring Frank Sinatra is given the honorable DVD treatment from the folks at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Since there are virtually no extras on the disc other than Von Ryan's original theatrical trailer, along with some other Fox titles like The Guns of Navarone (1961), Patton (1970), and The Thin Red Line (1998), the strength of the disc must rest solely on its picture and sound. Thankfully, both are very good indeed. Shown in its original aspect ratio of ...
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Overview

This brash, exciting World War II action film starring Frank Sinatra is given the honorable DVD treatment from the folks at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Since there are virtually no extras on the disc other than Von Ryan's original theatrical trailer, along with some other Fox titles like The Guns of Navarone (1961), Patton (1970), and The Thin Red Line (1998), the strength of the disc must rest solely on its picture and sound. Thankfully, both are very good indeed. Shown in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs, the framing looks strong throughout and really opens up the film. Much of the action, especially during the final third of the film, takes place in the rural Italian countryside or in the Alps, so the widescreen compositions lose much of their power without the letterboxed image. The transfer is pretty consistent -- colors and blacks are always balanced -- though there are occasional moments of digital artifacts in the train's smoke during some of the nighttime scenes. Other than that, the transfer is fine. Fox has also given the film a two-channel stereo boost, though the original English mono track is also available, as well as a French mono option. The film's Oscar-nominated sound effects gain a lot of power with the remastered stereo track, and the film's many explosions, aerial combat scenes, and general sounds of mayhem are fully exploited for a two-channel track. The disc has also been given a generous 30 chapters, which is always a plus for this format.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Von Ryan's Express is entertainment, not history. Viewers who accept that premise will probably enjoy this action-packed adventure film with a simple theme: escape. The year is 1943. Germans are moving northward in Italy after allies land in the south. When Italian overseers abandon a prison camp, the English and American POWs escape, but are recaptured by Germans and placed on a train bound for a concentration camp. Led by a U.S. pilot, Col. Joseph Ryan, the prisoners overtake the Germans and commandeer the train, pointing it toward Switzerland. Although the characters are little more than cardboard cutouts, the story is riveting and suspenseful. The escaping prisoners disguise themselves, dodge dive-bombing planes, pick off harassers in a tunnel, and coax their dead train to life. The cinematrography is strong and the action bully. Frank Sinatra earns his pay as Col.Ryan -- dubbed "Von Ryan" by his mostly British underlings for his unpopular policies in the prison camp -- and Trevor Howard is superb as cranky British officer Major Eric Fincham. The plot brims with close calls. In one scene, escapees wearing German uniforms must pass through Nazi checkpoints. Because only the POW chaplain (Edward Mulhare) speaks German, the other disguised soldiers can only nod or hem and haw when addressed. In another scene, the escapees must replace damaged railroad tracks while Germans close in. Viewers looking for heavy-duty angst and realism (à la Saving Private Ryan) won't find it here. What they will find is pure escapism (à la The Great Escape).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/15/2001
  • UPC: 024543013112
  • Original Release: 1965
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Mono / Stereo
  • Sound: stereo, monaural
  • Language: English, Français
  • Time: 1:52:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Frank Sinatra Colonel Joseph Ryan
Trevor Howard Maj. Eric Fincham
Raffaella Carrà Gabriella
James Brolin Pvt. Ames
Brad Dexter Sergeant Bostick
Sergio Fantoni Captain Oriani
Edward Mulhare Constanzo
John Leyton Orde
Wolfgang Preiss Major Von Kleinment
Adolfo Celi Battaglia
Vito Scotti Italian Train Engineer
Richard Bakalyan Corporal Giannini
Michael Goodliffe Captain Stein
Ivan Triesault Von Kleist
Luther Adler
John Day
Barry Ford Ransom's Batman
Brian Gaffikin Voice Only
Gino Gottarelli Gortz's Aides
Don Grant
Buzz Henry
Eric Micklewood Ransom
Benito Prezia Italian Corporal
Michael Romanoff Italian Nobleman
James B. Sikking American Soldier
Michael St. Clair Sgt. Dunbar
Bard Stevens German Sergeant
John van Dreelen Colonel Gortz
Al Wyatt
Technical Credits
Mark Robson Director, Executive Producer
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Raphael Bretton Set Decoration/Design
Hilyard M. Brown Art Director
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Saul David Producer
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Emil Kosa Jr. Special Effects
Joseph Landon Screenwriter
Wendell Mayes Screenwriter
Ben Nye Sr. Makeup
Walter Rossi Sound/Sound Designer
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Dorothy Spencer Editor
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Selection
1. The Downed Pilot [2:37]
2. Main Titles [1:41]
3. The Funeral [1:40]
4. The American Colonel [3:58]
5. A Full House [:34]
6. The Americans [2:29]
7. The British [1:54]
8. Escape Rations [2:15]
9. The New Commander [2:53]
10. The Naked Parade [1:49]
11. Military Justice [4:02]
12. Time To Move [4:04]
13. Ryan's Mistake [1:33]
14. A Train To Rome [3:33]
15. Ryan's Plan [3:51]
16. Taking Over The Train [:35]
17. Traveling Plans [4:35]
18. Nazi Masquerade [4:20]
19. Rerouting The Train [1:50]
20. A Tense Trade [2:53]
21. The Right Thing To Do [:02]
22. An Escape Attempt [:45]
23. Found Out [7:41]
24. Hell On The Tracks [1:44]
25. Escape Through Milan [1:39]
26. Messerschmidts [6:20]
27. Repairing The Tracks [1:48]
28. Blood On The Rails [2:51]
29. Ryan's Victory [2:49]
30. End Titles [:34]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Special Features
      Theatrical Trailer
      Fox Flix
         Longest Day
         Patton
         Sand Pebbles
         The Thin Red Line
         Tora! Tora! Tora!
   Language Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A war movie that is great

    Von Ryan's Express is a fast-paced, World War II drama. A squadron of Allied soldiers trying to escape a prison camp train in Italy. While most of the prisoners are British, a resourceful American Air Force colonel (Frank Sinatra) takes charge and leads the escape, which requires that the prisoners get control of a prisoner of war train and propel it through Italy to Switzerland. Featuring good special effects and outstanding stunt work, is great fun and suspenseful. Frank Sinatra makes an effective action hero aided by veteran actor Trevor Howard. The CinemaScope photography is outstanding. If you are a war movie buff, this would be an outstanding addition to your movie library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews