Casablanca Express

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Casablanca Express

War, Drama, Action | 85 Mins | Released: 1989
Director: Sergio Martino
Starring: Glenn Ford, Jason Connery, Donald Pleasence, Francesco Quinn, Jinny Steffan, Jean Sorel, Manfred Lehmann
Our Rating: 4
Color

In 1942, Winston Churchill arrives in Algiers. He plans to travel on to Casablanca where he will meet Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin for the Casablanca Conference. His aides and army commanders strongly advise against travelling by train, but Churchill is adamant.

Intelligence discovers that Churchill’s presence is known to the Germans, and they fear a killing or kidnapping may be attempted. An especially secure carriage is attached to a train (The Casablanca Express) and a unit of American commando troops assigned to travel with him. Three intelligence agents, Alan Cooper, Captain Franchetti and Lt. Lorna Fisher are assigned as bodyguards, but Cooper is held back after he chases and kills a French double agent.

The train proceeds on its way, but a German agent, Otto von Tiblis, is amongst the passengers in disguise. He is detected by Franchetti and a fight on the coach roof ensues. Now revealed, von Tiblis opens fire on the passengers and takes over the engine at gunpoint. The train comes to a halt, and a unit of German paratroopers, awaiting this moment, attack the train. They kill nearly all the American soldiers and wound and kill many passengers.

Back in Algiers, Allied intelligence learn of the attempted kidnap and Cooper volunteers for a dangerous mission. He travels alone by camel and sneaks up on the train. The coaches have all been wired with explosives in case of attack, but he gets a badly wounded Franchetti to crawl under the coaches and cut the wires connecting the explosives and the detonator. Cooper, Fisher and Franchetti open fire on the Germans; Fisher is able to send an emergency radio signal to Algiers, at which point a trainload of heavily armed US Marines leaves to intercept the Express.

All the Germans have been killed, but von Tiblis manages to get the train going. He soon comes face to face with the Marines, who shoot up the train and kill him.

Franchetti dies, but Cooper and Fisher, badly wounded, return to Algiers. They learn that the ‘Churchill’ they battled to protect was actually a decoy, and the real Churchill has travelled to Casablanca by plane.

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Movie Notes:

Casablanca Express is a 1989 Italian action war film starring Jason Connery and Francisco Quinn that was filmed in Morocco. It was produced by Pietro Innocenzi and Umberto Innocenzi and directed by Sergio Martino. The film was later featured in an episode of Cinema Insomnia.

Review:
Good story.
11 January 2010 | by jt_3d
The plot itself is pretty solid. The Nazis want to kidnap Churchill. Allied intelligence would rather that not happen. Actually filmed at least partly in Morocco, with a fairly decent cast, I find Casablanca Express good enough to have watched three times so far. It’s got enough action to be interesting and is fairly believable. Though the Nazi leader’s remarkable skill with a pistol got to be a bit much. Francesco Quinn and Jason Connery did a good job playing intelligence operatives, as did easy on the eyes Jinny Steffan. Glen Ford and Donald Pleasence have bit parts with Pleasence’s sole purpose apparently being to give permission for Cooper to kill Churchill if he’s in danger of being captured. Such an order would have to come from the British. I could see no other reason for him being in this movie based on what he adds to the story. Glen Ford’s role is a bit bigger.
Good action with a dash of intrigue and espionage makes it easier to ignore glaring errors like the helmet liners instead of steel pots and plot convenience stunts which wipe out all the soldiers trying to take back control of the train. Worth a watch. 6/10