Caught On A Train

Caught On A Train

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Caught On A Train

The film was originally shot in 16mm - poorer quality than the super 16 which came later - so the look of this drama isn't as vibrant as some. I suspect this transfer is probably as good as it can be considering the age and type of the original stock. It's easy to forget that this is a made-for-TV drama, leading you somehow to expect more in terms of print quality. The sound is just fine, no better or worse than you would expect. The subtitles are pretty good, though I did spot a few errors and the commentary track isn't subtitled.

The 20-minute featurette features Poliakoff and some interesting snippets of Ashcroft being interviewed about the drama around the time of it's airing - worth it for the sight of the frightfully posh-sounding Dame sitting on a beanbag. Poliakoff, talks about the semi-autobiographical nature of the piece - it is very loosely based on a transcontinental trip he made - and about the cultural concerns at the time, such as terrorism with the Baader Meinhoff gang. There are also appearances from Timothy Spall and Lindsay Duncan, which seem incongrous until you realise that Poliakoff's later drama Perfect Strangers is also getting a welcome BBC release so, presumably, these snippets are taken from a longer discussion of their roles in that. It's a shame they couldn't get Michael Kitchen to offer an insight here; he is very noticeable by his absence.

Copy picture

The other extra on the disc is a commentary track by Poliakoff and producer Kenith Trodd. It is a bit "film school" and dry in places but does offer some insight into how they produced such an expensive-looking piece of drama on such a tight budget. Poliakoff also talks about how Ashcroft came to be chosen for the role - the first time she had worked for the BBC in 40 years - and there is lamentation for the lack of the writing environment which allowed drama like this to happen. It isn't scintillating, but if you are interested in the motivations behind the drama and some of the techniques used to achieve the end result, it is worth a listen.

Ultimately, the extras on the disc bear watching once, but I doubt you'll be returning to them much. However, this DVD is worth buying for the drama alone.

Reviewed on: 25 Feb 2004
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Caught On A Train packshot
A young executive crosses swords with an elderly Austrian dowager on a trans-continental train.
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Product Code: BBCDVD1325

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital mono

Extras: Featurette (16:9); commentary by Stephen Poliakoff and Kenith Trodd

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