Trains in old movies but not necessarily train movies

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, April 6, 2020 1:01 PM

For some reason it didn't occur to me that Goodbye Mr. Chips was filmed in the U.K. I must say that the Austrian equipment did look authentic. Obviously it wasn't filmed after September of 1939. I have a film from 1931, Danger Lights filmed on the Milwakee Road in the northwest as you can see catenary above the tracks in most scenes but it's set in a vague location that's supposed to be about 100 or so miles from Chicago. 

I loved MST3K- there's a guy in my neighbourhood and that's his cars vanity plate. Cool or what? 

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Posted by chutton01 on Monday, April 6, 2020 10:46 AM

"The Rebel Set" - a movie I have only seen on MST3k (where it is given a hilarious riffing treatment, although the movie is not that bad). The movie is set in then contemporary times (1959), and involves an elaborate armored car heist during a station stop in Chicago on a passenger train from Los Angeles to New York (this actually baffled me a bit the first time I saw the movie - there is some question whether it is two different trains or not, but since it's all UP stock doesn't matter) - so basically at the end you have a UP passenger train going thru to New York (Newark).

The end of the movie is an extended chase scene clearly filmed in and around one of the UP's LA yards (or maybe the LAUPT yards, not certain), with a decent amount of UP (and SP and ATSF) locomotives (road and switcher), passenger stock, mail express, etc. visible (again, remember that final scene is supposed to be Newark NJ, so west coast power is freely traversing New Jersey in this film universe).

The outdoor yard chase fimed real RR equipment, but alas the interior train scenes (sleeper and dining car) as well as the stations are clearly sets.

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Posted by Leo_Ames on Monday, April 6, 2020 9:56 AM

One of my favorite movies.

I wish I liked the remake, but even Petula Clark can't save it for me. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, April 6, 2020 9:33 AM

I asked Lady Firestorm, my resident old movie expert, about "Goodbye Mr. Chips," and it was filmed in England, so you're looking at real English trains in that film.  The Austrian trains are dressed-up and altered British trains.  The movie dates from 1939 so there's NO WAY they were going to Nazi-occupied Austria for film-making! 

"Goodbye Mr. Chips" is actually a British film imported and released by MGM.

The only rail equipment studios owned that I'm aware of would have been 19th Century locomotives and rolling stock, handy for Westerns of course, and more-or-less contemporary passenger cars for on-site studio sets.  For anything else it was easier for Hollywood to go local with the Santa Fe or Southern Pacific, or sometimes further afield to places like the Sierra Railroad.  

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Trains in old movies but not necessarily train movies
Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, April 5, 2020 10:31 PM

Since I have a lot of time on my hands, I am watching a lot of classic movies on DVD. I just watched the film, "Goodbye Mr. Chips" made by MGM in 1939. There are scenes of English trains and Austrian trains from about 1880. They do not look like sets, they do look real in their details as I am well familiar with vintage European railway equipment. Now, here is my question, did movie studios own such trains? I know that there were and are railroads where westerns were filmed, but what about European trains for films set there? I've read a lot about Hollywood in those days and that MGM was the biggest studio so they must have been able to afford to bring over such equipment. Did they? 

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