Silver Streak 1976

ss76_003 ss76_066

20th Century Fox

What could be finer than a movie featuring classic GMD cab units pulling a matched set of Budd-built streamlined passenger equipment? When Amtrak balked at having its equipment used for a murder/mystery, Canada stepped in to offer a mini CP Rail Canadian consist.

Most station scenes were filmed in Toronto’s Union Station with Western exteriors taken along CP Rail’s secondary line between Lethbridge, Alberta and the Crowsnest Pass. Filmmaker’s attention to detail was good on the interiors right down to the “Amroad” and “Silver Streak” branding on such mundane items as napkins, menus, maps and timetables.

Let’s take a closer look at this obscure (it’s been over 42 years) train movie from the polyester 1970’s. “C’mon, Steve!!”

ss76_062 ss76_079

The Silver Streak climbs upgrade in the mountains; The train’s engineer talks on the radio in the cab of CP # 4070, a GMD FP7A.

ss76_007 ss76_009

The Amroad conductor does his best, “All Aboard” as the train prepares to leave “Los Angeles”. Note the Canadian National passenger cars on the next track; Ned Beatty (Sweet) and Gene Wilder (George) study an Amroad system map etched into the glass of the dining car — a nice touch by the filmmakers.

 

ss76_012 ss76_014

Jill Clayburgh (Hilly) and George have…quite a few drinks in the dining car.

ss76_011 ss76_015

I include the above picture because it just screams, “1970’s Diet!”. How about a bottle of “Tab”, plain hamburger patty, cottage cheese and tomato slices for din-din?; A nice view of a Canadian Pacific diner – Hilly and George have stayed so long, the place is just about closed down.

ss76_021 ss76_023
ss76_024 ss76_026

Comes the dawn, a crane shot reveals George in the CP sleeper, “Elgin Manor”. Shortly thereafter, George is tossed off the train (a running gag) by henchman Reace (played by Richard Kiel).

Much plot left off HERE

ss76_033 ss76_035
ss76_037 ss76_038

Long story short, George hitches a ride in a woman’s biplane (she keeps calling him Steve) and reboards the Silver Streak — through the rear door of the dome observation car!

ss76_046 ss76_040

There’s snow in the mountains in these coming and going shots of the entire consist. Thanks to TrainOrders.com, I was able to determine the actual equipment used in the film:

General Motors Diesel Canada (GMD) FP7A #4070 built in 1952
General Motors Diesel Canada (GMD) FP7A #4067 built in 1952

First car – #613 baggage/crew dormitory
Second car – “Burton Manor” Sleeper
Third car – “Elgin Manor” Sleeper
Fourth car – #118 Coach
Fifth car – “Wascana” Dining car
Sixth car – “Drummond Manor” Sleeper
Seventh car – #108 Coach
Eighth car – “Kokanee Park” Dome observation car

All of the passenger equipment was fluted stainless steel built in the Budd Company Red Lion plant in Philadelphia, PA (1955).

ss76_048 ss76_049

Okay, back to the movie. Next thing you know, Sweet and George are climbing on top of the Silver Streak. Nice, partially frozen river on the right.

ss76_052 ss76_057

Uh-oh. Reace is after George! George finds a spear gun in the baggage car (don’t ask) and dispatches Reace over the side.

ss76_058 ss76_059ss76_060 ss76_061

Too late, George encounters a signal bridge which knocks him off the train again. I didn’t know railroad signals pivoted like that. This scene was apparently used in the opening credits of The Fall Guy.

A great deal of plot left off HERE — including probably the funniest scene in the entire movie with Richard Pryor (Grover) and George in a Toronto Union Station bathroom.

ss76_065 ss76_073

George getting past the cops and back onboard Silver Streak; What’s this? Richard Pryor serving coffee to the eeee-vil mastermind Devereau (played by Patrick McGoohan) with George and Hilly held prisoner.

ss76_076 ss76_077

For the third time, “circumstances dictate” Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor (or at least their stunt doubles) make a spectacular leap from the Silver Streak into a shallow creek.

Much more plot left off HERE

ss76_090 ss76_087

Minus his henchmen, Devereau is now up in the cab taking pot shots at the pursing police helicopters; Silver Streak roars over a hefty overhead truss bridge.

ss76_091 ss76_095

Eventually Devereau is dispatched by this spiffy little CP #8100 (a GMD SW1200 switcher with Flexicoil trucks, ho-HO!); Hey look, it’s Michelle’s Dad (Fred Willard) in the “Chicago” switch tower (note the BN switcher schleping Amtrak rolling stock in the background).

 

ss76_098 ss76_100

Two things that always bugged me when I first saw the movie: #1: Why is he reaching for the cut lever from the opposite car (further away?) and #2: Whenever air hoses part on a train, BOTH sections will stop — go into emergency.

I know.  We’d have no spectacular ending then.  OK, back to the picture….

ss76_104 ss76_107

Hey is that the Royal York Hotel in Toronto? And dig that CN Turbo Train on the next track! Suddenly, we’re riding the rails into Ogilvie CNW Station in Chicago….

ss76_109 ss76_112
ss76_117 ss76_119

Here’s comes the Silver Streak. Right on time! (1:35pm); Mirror, mirror on the wall; the rear section coasts slowly into Chicago (note the CN baggage car a couple tracks over); George and Hilly survey the wreckage.

What a finish! Probably the most enjoyable train movie out of the 1970’s. Buy, rent or stream this puppy and enjoy a great evening’s entertainment. Richard Pryor steals every scene he’s in. Pay the man. What? PAY the man!

Here’s what IMDb has to say about Silver Streak:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075223/

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:
Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com.

THE END

 

Advertisements

About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Silver Streak 1976

  1. Oats says:

    Feeling good, feeling fine, shake it but don’t break it!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s