Lancastic rolls on this weekend and Burt finds himself trapped in two very different situations. In Birdman of Alcatraz, he’s trapped by prison walls. In The Train, he’s trapped between the French resistance and a Nazi train laden with stolen art. Both are directed by John Frankenheimer, whose career was given a huge boost by Lancaster after the two worked on The Young Savages in 1961.

Frankenheimer wasn’t supposed to direct either of these films. Birdman began under Charles Chrichton (The Lavender Hill Mob, a bunch of other stuff), but Lancaster brought in Frankenheimer to take over. A perhaps over-ambitious prestige bio-pic (the first cut was over 4 hours long), it was still quite the success, earning Lancaster his 3rd of 4 best actor nominations — which he lost to Gregory Peck for To Kill A Mockingbird, no shame in losing to that performance.

The Train is more in the Frankenheimer mode, a tense, action-filled thriller. But Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde, Night Moves, other classics) was the initial director, until Lancaster fired him and brought in Frankenheimer to make the film more action-packed. Lancaster does his own stunts, real trains are crashed, real dynamite blows up real good. It’s a style of action mostly unseen since special effects took over the world.

See? Isn’t that great? Real humans did that stuff. Not a computer.

Birdman of Alcatraz
Friday, November 22nd: 7pm
Saturday, November 23rd: 9:30pm
Sunday, November 24th: 7:30pm
Buy tickets

The Train
Friday, November 22nd: 9:30pm
Saturday, November 23rd: 7pm
Sunday, November 24th: 5pm
Buy tickets

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