The Man Who Watched Trains Go By 1952

(US title: The Paris Express)


Director: Harold French


Writers: Georges SimenonHarold FrenchPaul Jarrico

Rôle: Inspector Lucas


Release Date: December 1952


Synopsis: A Dutch company's owner bankrupts his own company, burns the incriminating ledgers and plans to run to Paris with the company payroll but he is caught in the act by his accountant who challenges his actions, leading to a reversal of roles.

Comment: Marius looks very handsome and dapper as the French inspector and his blue eyes and red gold hair glow in this technicolour film. He also looks adorable in his pyjamas!

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By

Wardrobe Trivia: Marius wears the same spotted bowtie, pyjamas and dressing gown that he wears in Nachts auf den Straßen (1952) and the same gold and cream scarf that he wears in The Red Shoes (1948). The green cardigan he wears also appears in an episode of The Expert (1968-1976) decades later. He's also, for the first time, wearing knitted white/cream gloves - these same gloves turn up in many of his subsequent film and television rôles.

Availability: Blu Ray (Classicflix) Release Date: 9 June 2018.

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By article - Reds Try to Stop Making of Film in The Sydney Morning Herald 26 May 1952
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By review by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times 6 June 1953
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By review in The Times 29 December 1952
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By review by Campbell Dixon in The Daily Telegraph 29 December 1952

From a review on IMDb by tdefelic: "I love the quiet conversations between Goring's detective and Rains trembling, stammering suspect, as they enjoy a game of chess. We believe the detective is genuinely concerned about the little bookkeeper, and knows that something important is breaking down in this essentially good man."

Reviews: From a review by Glenn Erickson on Trailers from Hell site: "Bookkeeper Kees Popinga (Claude Rains) lives in an orderly world in Groningen, Holland, keeping the books of the De Koster shipping company. He takes his family for granted and finds simple pleasure in his hobby of memorizing the train schedules and dreaming about all the exciting places the trains go. All of that falls apart when Kees discovers that his boss Julius de Koster (Herbert Lom) has misappropriated the firm’s money to keep a mistress in Paris. Kees’ own savings are with the company too. At a dramatic moment Kees learns that Julius intends to fake his own death and abscond with a bag containing a fortune in guilders. Events conspire to put the relatively innocent Kees on a journey of discovery, aboard a train to Paris with the aforementioned treasure bag. Along the way he comes in ‘coincidental’ contact with the French detective Lucas (Marius Goring), who was aware of de Koster’s embezzlement. Lucas doesn’t suspect Kees of a crime, but the bookkeeper flees him anyway. After enjoying the sights of the city, Kees Popinga foolishly drops in on his boss’s former lover, Michele Rozier (Märta Torén), foolishly imagining that she might be a potential new ‘friend.’ Rozier throws him out, but after learning from Lucas about the missing fortune in cash, goes on her own search for the little Dutchman. Kees is learning not to trust everybody, but will he learn fast enough?


...Because a Claude Rains character is usually the smartest person in the room, we forget that he’s got a much wider range than blasé cynicism. Kees Popinga may be inexperienced but he’s not stupid. We like him because he’s not a coward — when Michele savagely insults him, he doesn’t crawl away. He maintains his pride and composure, which the observant Lucas respects. When things go wrong, Lucas’s worst fear is that Kees will commit a real crime."

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By review in The Guardian 27 January 1953
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By review in the Fort Lauderdale News 17 January 1954

Inspector Lucas, de Koster and Kees Popinga at the chess club

Inspector Lucas and Michele