The Cassandra Crossing is a 1976 film directed by George Pan Cosmatos. It was co-produced by Carlo Ponti, G. Pettini and although uncredited Sir Lew Grade. The screenplay is based on the 1976 novel, The Cassandra Crossing written by Robert Katz, who co-wrote the screenplay with directed George Pan Cosmatos and Tom Mankiewicz. The film featured an all-star lineup of Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Burt Lancaster, Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson, Lee Strasberg and Ava Gardner.
The storyline follows a group of passengers on a Swiss Trans-European train that has been exposed to a deadly disease carried onboard by Swedish terrorist. Having been quarantined to prevent the spread of the disease and heading towards a dangerously unsound steel arch bridge, known as The Cassandra Crossing will crossing the bridge cost them their lives.
The Cinecittà studios in Rome were used for the interior filming with much of the exterior filming completed in locations around France and Switzerland. The bridge used to depict The Cassandra Crossing, was the Garabit Viaduct in southern France, built from 1880 to 1884 by Gustave Eiffel, who later constructed the Eiffel tower. Most of the special effects for filming involved models and rear screen work. Most of the studio artwork shows a US diesel locomotive that doesn’t resemble anything seen in the film. Peter O’Toole was originally offered the lead role, Dr Jonathan Chamberlain but turned it down.
When The Cassandra Crossing was released it received critical reviews with the consensus singling out the implausible plot line although praising the cinematography and Jerry Goldsmith’s musical score as noteworthy elements. During its preview screening, critics were heard booing and hissing. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a rating 0f 29% and on IMDb holds a 6.4/10. Variety described the film as, “… a tired, hokey and sometimes unintentionally funny disaster film in which a trainload of disease-exposed passengers lurch to their fate”.
At the time disaster genre films were no longer guaranteed box office success but Carlo Ponti had seen the production as a showcase for his wife, Sophia Loren. Produced on an estimated budget of between $3 and $6m, I am unable to determine whether the film was a box office success as no actual figures can be found on its opening weekend or total box office receipts. However, it is claimed that The Cassandra Crossing made money over it production costs with the producers saying that they recouped the production costs of the film out of Japan alone.
The Cassandra Crossing
Year of Film
George Pan Cosmatos
Sophia Loren, Richard Harris, Burt Lancaster, Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson, Lee Strasberg, Ava Gardner
Origin of Film
West Germany | Italy | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Thriller
Opening Weekend: Unknown
Type of Poster
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
40″ x 30″
NSS # / Printer Markings
Printed in England by W.E. Berry Ltd Bradford
The Trans-European Express with its deadly secret is racing to the point of no return!
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