Film: Night Train to Paris

Even though you haven’t seen Night Train to Paris (1964), you pretty much have seen it. This blend of slangy noir and Hitchcockian wrong-man plot is over-familiar even for its time, but it’s a passable, mindless entertainment that flies by at sixty-five minutes.

Alan Holiday (Leslie Nielsen) is a PR man for an airline with ties to US military intelligence. His New Year’s Eve is interrupted by the arrival on his doorstep of femme fatale Catherine Carrel (Aliza Gur), who enlists him to help her and an old spy colleague make last-minute travel plans to Paris. In the end, though, the actions of a dastardly enemy agent force him to take the trip himself. Posing as a fashion photographer’s assistant, Holiday joins a train full of partying passengers heading from London to Paris; hijinks, treachery, romance, and action ensue.

Night Train to Paris doesn’t have an original bone in its body. Its budget is low and its slim script is stretched to its limit. But it’s quick, painless fun, especially for fans of Nielsen’s later brand of deadpan slapstick who might be curious to see him earn his stripes in a jazzy, black-and-white B movie from the mod sixties.

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