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The Cassandra Crossing
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 from 5,052 votes
Release: 18 December 1976 (Italy) /

The Cassandra Crossing

Genre: Action, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Director: George P. Cosmatos,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: "Outbreak" meets "The Runaway Train" as a motley group of passengers are quarantined on a train destined to prevent the spread of the disease at the cost of their lives. Government intrigue, international smuggling, and the legend of the Cassandra Crossing add to the suspense. Written by <hgwells@magicnet.net>

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Critic Reviews

Disaster epics like "The Poseidon Adventure" and "The Towering Inferno" from 20th Century Fox led almost everyone else to try their hand at it, since, for a time, disaster at the movies meant box office gold. This entry was Italy's answer to the genre and, though it is far-fetched and occasionally ridiculous, it is a thrilling and tense movie. Loren toplines as a divorcee and author who happens to be boarded on the same train as her ex-husband (twice!) Harris is the husband, a noted neurosurgeon. The two lob sarcastic and occasionally poignant barbs at each other and attempt a sort of 1970's, updated Nick & Nora Charles thing. (Ironically, their names are Jonathan and Jennifer, the monikers of the later Nick & Nora redux "Hart to Hart" and Stander, Max the conductor in this film, played their cohort---ALSO named Max!) Other passengers board in the typical genre fashion, each with their tics and traits and duties to the story. Gardner looks stunning. She ludicrously, but welcomely, appears in a new drop-dead Franka ensemble for almost every scene. Nothing about her character is realistic, but she adds great style and class to the film. Sheen plays her latest boy-toy and they share a rather kinky, Oedipal relationship. Simpson (in another subpar performance) is a mysterious priest. Strasberg is excruciating as a sort of male Estelle Getty from "The Golden Girls", omnipresently appearing everywhere trying to sell watches to the passengers. He gets better toward the end, but his appearance is mostly embarrassing. Turkel (doubtlessly on board due to her offscreen relationship with Harris) is a hippie singer who warbles a truly awful song which stops everything in its tracks (pun intended.) Also on board: an infected terrorist who is spreading a horrific plague everywhere he goes (which is hilariously punctuated by ominous sounds and scenes of him coughing in the train's food, etc...) Lancaster as a stern army colonel and Thulin (who exists as a verbal punching bag for Lancaster) as a doctor argue over the best course of action. She fights for the rights and lives of the passengers. He sees them as casualties of an unfortunate situation. Eventually, it is decided to direct the train to an old concentration camp in Poland, but first it must traverse the title bridge---The Cassandra Crossing! The film contains some really impressive aerial camera work (the film should be viewed in widescreen) and doesn't take long to begin it's feeling of dread and suspense. Though a lot of the drama is diffused by clumsy editing, inane dialogue, agonizing bit players, lax rear projection (but not often) and lazy acting, there is enough good in the film to overcome this. Immeasurably helpful is Goldsmith's Italian-flavored, chug-chug score which wrings every ounce of excitement it can out of the visuals. It's also fun to see Loren in a film of this type, pitching in and holding her own with Harris in the action scenes. There is a level of emotion in several instances that helps this rise above some other screen flops like "When Time Ran Out" and "Avalanche". A lot happens in this film. The plague would be enough, but then there's gunplay and the weakened bridge! The situation is the film is serious and threatening and isn't relieved until almost the fade out, so a few missteps along the way can be forgiven.

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