ROCHESTER, NY.- The Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House is conducting a film series titled Locomotion Pictures: The Great Train Movies throughout November and December, in conjunction with the George Eastman House's "TRAINS!" photography exhibitions. The series takes off Nov. 5 with a screening of The Photographer, His Wife and Her Lover — which illustrates the scandalous marriage of famed railroad photographer O. Winston Link, who headlines the "TRAINS!" photography exhibitions — and concludes with a showing of the animated movie The Polar Express on Dec. 23.
The film series Locomotion Pictures features stories set almost entirely on trains, or in the world of railroads and rail yards. Some of the films feature heroes who are train-obsessed, while others focus on traveling protagonists caught up in a vehicle barreling beyond their control.
"Every movie is, in a sense, a 'mystery train.' We don't know where it will take us or how it will make us feel, and hopefully, there are other surprises before we reach the end of the journey," said Jim Healy, George Eastman House's assistant curator of exhibitions, Motion Picture Department. "Maybe it's for these reasons that scenes on trains have become such a hallmark of the suspense and action picture and a dream sequence cliché."
The first significant piece of traditional cinema to create an impact featuring a train, with its direct-fixed camera shot of a train arriving at a station, was in the 1896 Lumière brothers' Arrivée d'un train à Perrache (screening Dec. 2).
The Locomotion Pictures series also features Hitchcockian thrillers The Sleeping Car Murder (showing Nov. 6), Silver Streak (Dec. 10), and La Bête Humaine (Dec. 16); European omnibus production Tickets (Nov. 13); fact-based drama The Train (Nov. 12); whodunit Murder on the Orient Express (Nov. 20); avant-garde study RR (Nov. 19); silent classic comedies The General and The Great Train Robbery (Dec. 2); and animated classics Dumbo (Nov. 23) and The Polar Express (Dec. 23).
"If traveling by train, like going to the movies, isn't as much a part of our daily lives as it once was," Healy said, "then these Locomotion Pictures screening in the Dryden can be seen as an invitation to dream or return to the past. All aboard the mystery trains of cinema...destination unknown."