In action thriller Avalanche Express, when Russian General Marenkov (Robert Shaw) decides to defect to the West, CIA agent Harry Wargrave (Lee Marvin) is sent to bring him out. Going against orders, Wargrave decides to get Marenkov to safety by train, using it as a chance to flush out renegade Russian Nikolai Bunin (Maximilian Schell), mastermind of a plan to launch biological warfare on the West. As the train makes its way from Italy to Holland, Bunin’s attacks grow in ferocity, including a spectacular avalanche that the train must out-run.
The film was Shaw’s last – he died just after shooting finished and some of his lines had to be dubbed post-production. It seemed doubly cursed when veteran director Mark Robson, best known for Valley of the Dolls and Van Ryan’s Express, died during shooting. Equally experienced Monte Hellman (The Shooting, Two Lane Blacktop) took over to finish the project and turned in a slick, fast-moving thriller with the added novelty of an appearance by Joe Namath, one of American Football’s greatest players, who turned his hand to acting after retiring from the sport.
USA | 85 minutes | 1979
Directors: Mark Robson, Monte Hellman
Writer: Abraham Polonsky, based on Colin Forbes’ novel
Robert Shaw as Markenkov
Lee Marvin as Wargrave
David Hess as Geiger
Vladek Sheybal as Zannbin
Horst Buchholz as Schotten
Linda Evans as Else Lang
Joe Namath as Leroy
Maximilian Schell as Bunin
Mike Connors as Haller
Arthur Brauss as Neckermann
Kristina Nel as Helga Mann
Günter Meisner as Rudi Mueller
Claudio Cassinelli as Molinari
Robert Rietty as Markenkov (voice)
Sylva Langová as Olga
Cyril Shaps as Sadov
Sky du Mont as Philip John
Richard Marner as Field Marshall Prachko
Arnold Drummond as Commissar
Paul Glawion as Alfredo
Dan van Husen as Bernardo
Rainer Steffen as 1st Policeman
Dieter Groest as 2nd Policeman
Hans-Jürgen Leuthen as Dutch Customs Man
Maximilian Wolters as Swiss Officer
Gudo Hoegel as Adjutant of Molinari
Rudolf Waldemar Brem as 1st Signal Man
Erland Erlandsen as 2nd Signal Man
Walter Kraus as Engineer
Osman Ragheb as Security Agent
and this just in
Deadly Voyage (BBC 1996, Omar Epps, Sean Pertwee)
Thriller. A gripping tale of 20th Century piracy, inspired by real events, Deadly Voyage tells the story of a young...
Sex and Chocolate (BBC-1 1997, Dawn French, Phil Daniels)
Comedy drama. Dawn French stars as Bev, the wife of a school caretaker, Ian, who’s content with her lot –...
Tiger Bay (BBC-1 1997, Martin Troakes, Jan Anderson)
Drama series. The problems of a group of various types in the Cardiff area called Tiger Bay, a melting-pot of...
The Mill on the Floss (BBC-2 1997, Emily Watson, James Frain)
Emily Watson and James Frain play the star-crossed lovers Maggie Tulliver and Philip Wakeham in George Eliot’s classic tale of...
Roger Roger (BBC-1 1996-2003, Robert Daws, Pippa Guard)
Comedy drama series Roger Roger followed Sam, owner of Cresta Cabs, as he tried to keep his ailing company afloat...
Frontier Season 3 Premieres Fri 23 Nov on Netflix
Frontier is an action-packed adventure drama starring Jason Mamoa and following the chaotic and violent struggle to control wealth and...
Titans: Jason Todd (S1EP6 DC Fri 16 Nov 2018)
Jason Todd: Before Dick can reunite with The Titans, he reluctantly teams with Jason Todd (recurring guest star CURRAN WALTERS),...
The Romanoffs: The One That Holds Everything (S1EP8 Amazon Fri 23 Nov 2018)
The One That Holds Everything: In a story that circles the globe, a man tries to escape a family curse....
Reindeer Games (2000, Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron)
Car thief Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) shares his penitentiary cell with Nick (James Frain), a quiet prisoner who survives his...
Princess Caraboo (1994, Jim Broadbent, Phoebe Cates)
In 1817 England, a mysterious young woman appears speaking a foreign tongue and is soon arrested for begging. A good-intentioned...
Adventures of Pinocchio, The (1996, Martin Landau, Jonathan Taylor Thomas)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles director Steve Barron added another string to his bow with this lively family movie, a live-action...