HMWYBS Summertime and Trains!

Anne is technically on hiatus through May to finish a writing project, but will contribute brief submissions to Hit Me With Your Best Shot because she’ll be damned if she doesn’t see the entire series through.

It seems like every time I write for this series, I start by saying, “Today I want to talk about my favorite subject.” Well instead, today I want to talk about David Lean’s favorite subject: trains. No other director has been so visually fascinated by trains.

Here a train…

Brief Encounter (1945)

Brief Encounter (1945)

There a train…

The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

Everywhere a train…

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)


Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

If you haven’t seen any of these trains (or films) I highly suggest them if you have 3 1/2 hours to spare. Lean’s films run the gamut of genre (romance, epic, literary adaptation, war film, Noel Coward drama) but they almost always have a train scene. David Lean, not coincidentally, is one of my favorite directors. If you’ve seen Summertime, you probably know where this is going…

Best Shot
summertime train

I’m cheating again because it’s the last shot of the film, but I’m choosing it for two reasons: 1) I love trains. 2) Despite my annoyance with the message of the story (you can rekindle your long-lost joie de vivre if you let an Italian guy stalk his way into your pants), I love the image of Katherine Hepburn recklessly leaning almost entirely out the window of a moving train just to wave good bye. It’s a joyful (if hammy) ending. And if they didn’t lock train windows now, it’s probably something I’d attempt.

Anne is on hiatus in May, but check back for guest blogs! For more fun updates, or to suggest a movie, like WRM on Facebook or follow on Twitter @WeRecycleMovies. Also check out our podcast on iTunes!


About Anne Marie Kelly

Classic Film history & restoration nerd. Writer of A Year With Kate and Women's Pictures for The Film Experience. Follow me on Twitter @WeRecycleMovies.
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4 Responses to HMWYBS Summertime and Trains!

  1. Loved this post! And that image! xoxo Vince S.

  2. Nathaniel R says:

    my choice for best shot too. She almost wants to leap out that window, moving train be damned.

  3. Andrew K. says:

    I love how so many of us latched on to the ending. The film has an embarrassment of riches in terms of pretty shots but this one is just so moving.

    Also, all the train talks has me thinking of a what-if Lean had done an Anna Karenina?

  4. Gsa ser list says:

    It’s an remarkable piece of writing designed for all the
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