Avalanche Express

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Avalanche Express
Avalancheexpress.jpg
Directed by Mark Robson
Produced by Mark Robson
Screenplay by Abraham Polonsky
Based on novel by
Colin Forbes
Starring Lee Marvin
Robert Shaw
Linda Evans
Maximilian Schell
Music by Allyn Ferguson
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
(uncredited)
Edited by Garth Craven
Production
company
Lorimar Productions (Ireland) Ltd.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • August 30, 1979 (1979-08-30) (Netherlands)
  • October 19, 1979 (1979-10-19) (United States)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Ireland
Language English
Budget $12 million[1]

Avalanche Express is a 1979 cold war adventure thriller film produced and directed by Mark Robson, about the struggle over a defecting Russian general. It starred Lee Marvin, Robert Shaw (in his last performance), Maximilian Schell, and Linda Evans. The screenplay by Abraham Polonsky was based on the novel by Colin Forbes. Both Shaw and Robson died near the end of shooting.

Plot[edit]

Russian general Marenkov (Robert Shaw) decides to defect to the West, and CIA agent Harry Wargrave (Lee Marvin) leads the team that is to get him out. Wargrave decides that Marenkov should travel across Europe by train, on the fictional "Avalanche Express". The idea is to lure the Russians into attacking the train, and thus discover who their secret agents in Europe are. Consequently, during the train journey they must survive both a terrorist attack and an avalanche, all planned by Russian spy-catcher Nikolai Bunin (Maximilian Schell).

Production problems[edit]

During production in Ireland, both director Mark Robson and starring actor Robert Shaw died of heart attacks within weeks of each other. Monte Hellman was brought in to finish the direction, and Gene Corman (Roger Corman's brother) was called in to complete Robson's duties as producer.[2]

Robert Rietty was hired to re-voice Robert Shaw's dialogue in the opening scene, as it was decided to redo that scene in Russian with English subtitles instead of having the Russians speak broken English. As a consequence, for continuity, all of Shaw's dialogue throughout the film was re-voiced by Rietty.

Hellman, Corman and Rietty were not credited for their work, but the film's end credit contains a note stating: "The producers wish to express their appreciation to Monte Hellman and Gene Corman for their post production services."

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p258
  2. ^ Monte Hellman: his life and films, pages 130 to 133

External links[edit]