What has become known in Hollywood film circles as "The Million Dollar Minute" was enacted today (Tuesday) at Gargenville, about 37 miles (60 kilometres) from Paris.
What has become known in Hollywood film circles as "The Million Dollar Minute" was enacted today (Tuesday) at Gargenville, about 37 miles (60 kilometres) from Paris. A explosion, billed as 'the most impressive explosive display ever staged for a film', was part of 'The Train', a production starring Burt Lancaster, Paul Scofield and Jeanne Moreau.
The scene is the re-creation of a high altitude bombing raid on a German ammunition train heading for the front during the last days of the occupation of Paris. In the film, Burt Lancaster and his men of the Resistance, have succeeded in delaying the train long enough in the gargenville marshalling yards for the planes to arrive.
Film finance experts estimate that it would have cost one million dollars to enact this scone under Hollywood conditions. In all, approximately 4,000 pounds (2,000 kilos), 1,500 gallons (5,700 litres) of petrol, and 300 sacks of cement went up in smoke in less than a minute. On board the train, itself, 30 wagons long, were six tanks, five canons, four trucks, five armoured cars and a variety of ammunition and mortar shells. The force was so great that news cameramen were kept more than a half-a-mile away, and people living in the vicinity were evacuated.
Planning the explosion has taken months, and Hollywood effects man, Lee Zavitz says: "The only thing than can compare with it is the burning of Atlanta for 'Gone With the Wind'. zavitz ought to know, for it was he who staged the 40-acre five for that epic film.