Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Train Robbers

A group of train robbers, a lady in need of desperate help, two boxes of dynamite, and mysterious people chasing a small band of treasure hunters…  Sounds like a cross between Return to Devil’s Hole and The Man Who Murdered Himself, right?  Unfortunately, both of those episodes were far better than The Train Robbers, a 1972 movie directed by Burt Kennedy and starring John Wayne and Ann-Margret.

Ann-Margret plays a woman, Mrs. Lane, whose husband helped rob a train but was subsequently killed; not, however, before he told her where the money was buried.  She hires Mr. Lane, played by John Wayne, a drifter who drifts because he’s good at it, to find the gold, which is somewhere in the Mexican desert.  He hires four other men, whose characters never really become distinct from each other except for the youngest man, played by Bobby Vinton. 

The Train Robbers then proceeds to fill up 132 minutes of time as they undertake the journey to retrieve the gold.  Naturally, other people are also after the treasure.  Much time—far too much time—is spent on long camera shots of the good guys riding their horses, accompanied by slow, peaceful music interspersed with shots of the bad guys, numbering twenty in one group as well as another man following on his own, accompanied by fast-paced and loud music.

There are a number of shoot-outs, including a climactic scene when the hardy adventurers return to the isolated, one-train track Texas town from which they embarked upon their trip.  The best part of The Train Robbers was the ending, which had a twist but not the one I was expecting.

Two bonus features are included on the DVD.  One is called “Working with a Western Legend” and it includes interviews with a few of the actors and stunt men who worked with Wayne along with scenes from The Train Robbers.  The second is called “The Wayne Train” and lasts about five minutes; it provides details about the train that was used in the movie and is an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the film.