Von Ryan’s Express

Date: 1965
Director: Mark Robson
Production Company: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, P-R Productions

Stars: Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Raffaella Carra, Brad Dexter, Sergio Fantoni
Location(s): Andalucía (Spain), Lazio, Tuscany, Veneto (Italy)

Region(s): ,

Storyline:

An American POW leads a group of Allied prisoners to escape from the enemy during WWII.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson from source material provided by John Tunstill.

 

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Italian troops make there way through a bombed town as they follow a stricken plane. Filmed in Gaeta on Via del Duomo, Manuel Gurtner advises that the truck is passing the corner of the church Cattedrale dei Santi Erasmo e Marciano e di Santa Maria Assunta.

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Colonel Ryan's aircraft is spotted above the buildings. Still in Gaeta above Via Angioina, this is the splendid neo gothic church Tempio di San Francesco, which was built from 1283. Location found by Manuel Gurtner.

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Manuel provides a series of pictures as proof. Image copyright Google.

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The Italian troops drive on to intercept the American's plane. Manuel identified this as Via Angioina near the Tempio di San Francesco.

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The same spot. Image copyright Google.

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The Colonel's Lockheed P-38 Lightning sinks towards the ground. Manuel Gurtner tells us that the large apartment building stands at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi of Anzio, were the Allied Forces landed on 22th January 1944.

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The apartment block on the right. Image copyright Google.

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German Officers see the aircraft as it passes overhead. Probably a set built on the Riviera Zanardelli at the waterfront of Anzio where, since 23th January 2014, there stands the new war memorial for the Battle of Anzio. Information from Manuel.

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The waterfront without the set. Image copyright Google.

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The Germans set of to join the pursuit. Manuel Gurtner advises that the VW “Kübelwagen” is driven over the Riviera Zanardelli towards the Corso del Popolo.

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As the plane hits the ground, the Officers speed to the crash site.

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The Germans arrive on the scene looking for the pilot but the Italians hide their prisoner. The Wehrmacht “Kübelwagen” stands next to the farmhouse at the later Via San Rocco. On the hill in the background Montecelio can be seen. Location found by Manuel.

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The Italian's captive is driven away after the Germans depart. The truck passes through the entrance of the renaissance village Pratica di Mare between Anzio and Rome. Identification by Manuel.

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Colonel Ryan is taken to a prisoner of war camp run by Major Basilio Battaglia. The camp was a set built for the film. Henry advises that the common belief about the set being built in Italy is incorrect with proof contained in 'The Industry Author by Saul David and published by Times Books in 1981 ISBN: 0-8129-0971-2. The camp was located in the front lot of the main Fox Studios on Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles.

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When they hear of the Italian capitulation to the Allies, the guards flee and Ryan leads the prisoners from the camp on a trek across the countryside.

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The men camp in ancient Roman ruins for the night.

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Colonel Joseph L. Ryan (Frank Sinatra) walks through the resting POWs.

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Lookouts are posted around the ruins.

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As the morning dawns, German soldiers swarm out of the forest.

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The prisoners are recaptured.

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The prisoners are loaded onto a train bound for Rome and on to Germany.

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Through the wagon's caged windows, the scenery is observed as the train progresses. This appears to be Aqua Claudia as it passes through Il Parco degli Acquedotti in Rome.

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Peter's Basilica stands in the background as the train threads it's way over the viaduct next to Piazzale Gregorio VII in Rome. This viaduct carries the Vatican Railway over the Gelsomino valley and the train appears to be heading into Vatican City! This is certainly a unique shot, but no stock footage, because the German guards are clearly visible on the roof of the goods wagons. Furthermore, there is a semaphore at the end of the then double tracked Gelsomino Viaduct as a stop signal. Location information by Manuel Gurtner.

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Lieutenant Orde looks out onto more Roman views with the Tempio di Saturno centre and the dome of Santi Luca e Martina to the extreme right.

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The train comes to a halt in the goods yard Roma San Lorenzo. Manuel Gurtnel tells us that the Consolidation type locomotive carrying fictitious number 51 on the prop smoke deflectors is an American built class Gr 735.

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Under heavy guard, the men are allowed out of the wagons.

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The prisoners walk over to another train from which food is served to them. Of the four buildings in the background, Manuel tells us that the second from the left was demolished during the construction of the Tangenziale Est (City Highway).

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The view from the Tangenziale Est shows the older building on the left and the two modern apartment blocks at Via dello Scalo San Lorenzo. Image copyright Google.

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As the prisoners eat, a passenger carriage for the Wehrmacht officers is added to the train. Manuel Gurtner recognised the vehicle as being of type Az 52000.

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The train departs with Major von Klemment now in command. Manuel advises that the "balcony" at rear of the first class coach, was built specifically for the movie.

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After overpowering Major von Klemment and the guards, Ryan and the men enlist the help of the Italian engine driver and the train heads for Florence. Following intensive study, Manuel advises that, although the train is heading north, in reality it is travelling on the then non electrified branch line from Roma to Viterbo, and this is the viaduct south of the ancient town Bassano Romano in northern Lazio.

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The train arrives at Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station in Florence. Manuel advises that in reality we are still in Rome, because this is Stazione Roma Ostiense. The same location was used also for 'Light in the Piazza' from 1962.

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Manuel explains that the trademark of this station are the four tracks between the main platform and the first island platforms. Image copyright Google.

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Enemy officers crosses the four tracks to approach the train as it comes to a stand . . . . at platform 3 of Roma Ostiense station which plays Firenze Santa Maria Novella for this sequence.

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Another train conveying enemy troops to Germany along the same route approaches the station. Facing west at Roma Ostiense with the troop train in the background coming from the direction of Stazione Roma Trastevere.

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Manuel provides this shot to illustrate the apartment blocks seen on the left side of the tracks in the capture. Image copyright Google.

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Impersonating Major von Klemment, German speaking Captain Gregory Costanzo (Edward Mulhare) is accompanied along the platform by Colonel Ryan and Major Eric Fincham (Trevor Howard). The track next to platform 3 at Roma Ostiense is occupied by FS “Centoporte” type passenger coaches.

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After picking up Von Klemment's orders, the train heads towards Bologna. Manuel Gurtner tells us that the railway is the double track main line running from Rome to Naples to the west of Labico. The train is en route to the south passing a PPM (Posto Provvisorio di Movimento), while the trucks of the Wehrmacht drives along the SS 6 (Strada Statale) Via Casilina towards Rome.

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Fake orders to divert the train are handed over at Bologna before Colonel Ryan and Major Fincham make their way from the station office while watched by a Gestapo agent.

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After losing the following troop train due to their rerouting at a junction, the prisoners continue their escape. Manuel Gurtner tells us that the train is still on the double track of the main line from Rome to Naples, here passing Ceccano with the historical town visible on the hill.

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Lorries pass over a bridge as villagers watch the train stop to take on water. Manuel informs us that the bridge is adjacent to Anagni station in the province of Frosinone, Latium in Lazio and takes the SP 62 (Strada Provinciale) across the main Rome to Naples railway line.

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A teenager watches as the engine's water supply is replenished. The train stands at the northern end of the railway station, which is several kilometers away from the ancient town of Anagni which stands on a hill in the Latin Valley.

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As Von Klemment’s mistress Gabriella (Raffaella Carrà) attempts to escape and alert the police, the youth crosses to the other side of the bridge and shouts abuse at who he believes to be enemy soldiers. Manuel advises that the train is standing on track 1 at Anagni station.

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Following the shooting of Major von Klemment, the locals watch as the train starts away. The strange bungalows in the background are still standing, but are abandoned and decaying.

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The bridge across the tracks of the since renamed Stazione Anagni-Fiuggi. Image copyright Google.

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On the move again, a Station Master watches as the train speeds north to Milan.

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After successfully diverting around the enemy in Milan, the train heads for Passo Maloja in the Alps.

Another train carrying Waffen-SS troops mustered by Colonel Gortz sets off in pursuit of 'Von Ryan's Express'. Manuel Gurtner advises that here, the troop train reaches Ponte nelle Alpi over the tracks of the “Ferrovia del Cadore” Belluno-Calalzo through the Piave valley. In the background the church Madonna di Vedoia, with the peaks of the Prealpi Carniche at the horizon.

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Manuel provides this picture showing the other side of the tracks with a view from SS 51 (Strada Statale) at the edge of Ponte nelle Alpi. Image copyright Google.

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After enemy planes bomb the railway, the train comes to a halt when damaged track is spotted. El Chorro, Málaga in Spain with El Caminito Del Rey seen running to the left.

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The prisoners run back to find and remove a replacement rail that will also derail the pursuing train.

The train carrying German soldiers catches up. Manuel Gurtner tells us that this is the striking rift between the two Tovanella tunnels of the ferrovia Belluno-Calalzo where the train rushes towards the town of Longarone, which was destroyed in the Vajont Dam disaster on 9th October 1963.

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The view from the new road bridge of SS 51 nearby the former railway station of Castellavazzo provided by Manuel.

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As the prisoners hide in the tunnel ahead, the enemy train is brought to a stand when the missing rail is noticed in time.

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Major Fincham runs from the tunnel as the enemy open fire.

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On the move again, the train takes the prisoners to freedom as Ryan is shot dead and left on the track. Above the Guadalhorce river in El Chorro gorge, Andalucía, Spain. Facing south at the broad gauge Ferrocarril Córdoba-Bobadilla-Málaga with the view from the Puente del Gran Gaitán towards the Túnel de Almona. Location information from Manuel Gurtner.

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The train with the refugees continues to steam towards of neutral Switzerland. In reality, the “Ferrovia del Cadore” can be seen again, just before the terminal station of Calalzo di Cadore in the background. To the right the waters of the Lago Centro del Cadore reservoir is visible. An additional capture and location identification from Manuel Gurtner.