Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Closely Watched Trains (1966)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Closely Watched Trains (1966, Czech) (aka Ostre Sledované Vlaky)

In Jirí Menzel's war-related, coming-of-age romantic drama, a Czech New Wave film, and the 1968 winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1966 - with the intriguing tagline: "All it takes to make a man of a boy is a woman":

  • the first-person opening voice-over narration, introducing the humorous family history of the main protagonist - Milos Hrma (Vaclav Neckar): "My name is Milos Hrma. They often laughed at my name, but otherwise, we were a happy family. Our great-grandfather Lukas as a tambour (drummer) fought on the Charles Bridge of Prague, and when the students threw cobblestones at the soldiers, they great-grandfather with such aim that he was getting a pension ever since. One gulden per day. He didn't do anything after that except buy a bottle of rum and a pack of tobacco every day...My grandfather William was a hypnotist and the whole town believed his hypnotism was prompted by a desire to go through life without any effort...My father, an engine driver, has been retired since the age of forty-eight, and people are mad with envy since dad is healthy and will draw his pension for twenty, maybe thirty years without doing a thing...Great-grandfather Lukas bought a bottle of rum and two packs of tobacco every day. Instead of staying home, he went to see the workers and made fun of the hard- working men. So every year grandpa Lukas would get beaten somewhere. And in 1930 great-grandfather boasted in front of stone cutters whose quarry had just been closed and they beat him so badly he died. And when the Germans crossed the frontiers in March and proceeded towards Prague, grandfather William decided to face the Germans on his own with hypnosis and stop the advancing tanks by the force of his thoughts. With outstretched hands and eyes glued to the Germans, he tried to get them to turn around and go back. Actually the first tank stopped and the entire army stopped, but then the tank started forward again and grandfather wouldn't move - so the tank went right over him, cutting off his head and nothing more stood in the way of the Reich's army" ---
  • Milos had just been newly-hired as the local assistant train dispatcher at Kostomlaty station during WWII, to 'closely watch' the trains so they wouldn't crash; before he left, he was being dressed in his uniform and hat by his proud mother
The Introduction of Milos
  • the character of Milos’ womanizing mentor/superior - bespectacled, short, and balding Ladislav Hubicka (Josef Somr), a freedom fighter at night
  • the symbolic, poster-enshrined image of the missed first kiss of Milos and seductive, nubile conductress Masa (Jilka Bendova), his co-worker - she was positioned on the train and he was standing below her on the platform; as they both closed their eyes and puckered up toward each other, the train suddenly pulled away; instead of contacting Masa's lips, Milos found that he had a whistle between his lips, placed there by Hubicka
Near-Miss Kiss with Conductress Masa
  • the scene of a curious Milos following a group of horny German soldiers who boarded a side-railed passenger train compartment filled with friendly young German nurses; soon, couples were having sex on the bench seats, although when Milos walked in, a curtain was pulled to block his entry
  • Milos' main objective - a quest for the loss of his virginity; a love-making attempt with Masa failed due to his continuing over-sensitivity problem with premature ejaculation, although she was understanding
  • afterwards, the dark sequence of Milos' near-fatal suicide attempt (by slitting his wrists in a steamy hot bath tub in a hotel) due to his adolescent anxiety and angst; he was hospitalized and soon recovered, and told Doctor Brabec (Jiri Menzel, the film's director): "So you see, doctor, I am not a real man, and I don't even want to be one. Everything is so difficult in life, for me. While for others it's all child's play. In other words, when I was to act, I flopped"; the doctor recommended that he "choose an older, experienced woman to initiate love-making"
  • the comic sexual horseplay scene of Hubicka chasing the young station telegraphist Zdenka (Jitka Zelenohorská) around the station office at midnight ("I told you I'd spank you"); he began to stamp her bare thighs and bare buttocks (she voluntarily pulled her own panties down) with the State's official bureaucratic ink stamp seal, causing embarrassment to her mother and other officials who learned of the offense
  • the sequence of Milos' awkward encounter with stationmaster Max's older wife (Libuse Havelková), whom he told about his raging hormonal problems with premature ejaculation and impotency: ("You see, I am a man but whenever I'm trying to prove that I'm a man I no longer am...Well, now for instance, I am a man"); as they talked and he hinted at having sex with her, she was stroking a goose's long neck that simulated the masturbatory, up-and-down phallic motion of male stimulation
  • the Resistance's sabotage plan, to be performed by Hubicka, was to drop a homemade bomb onto a German ammunition train (one of the "closely watched trains" with 28 carloads of ammunition in boxes) to destroy it; the bomb was delivered in a ribbon-wrapped gift package by beautiful Resistance follower Viktoria Freie (Nada Urbánková); Hubicka encouraged her to have sex with Milos before the plan was carried out the next day; when Milos was alone with her, and told her of his sexual issues, she urged him as she undressed and caressed his face: "Shut the light, will you please? So you've never had a girl before? Really and truly not?" - Milos was at last sexually fulfilled
Milos Dropping the Bomb From Train Tower and Losing His Life
  • the shocking death of Milos when, in place of Hubicka who was being disciplined in the train station for the rubber-stamp incident, he fulfilled the Resistance's mission of dropping the bomb from a train tower onto the loaded flat car of a freight train as it passed by below; gunfire was heard and Milos was hit (and fell from the tower onto the moving train); the bomb successfully blew up (off-screen around the corner - a massive blast) - and the film abruptly ended

Milos (Vaclav Neckar) (on right) With Hubicka (Josef Somr) (on left)

The Train Compartment with Sexy Nurses

Milos' Slit Wrist

Hubicka's Rubber Stamping of Zdenka's Bare Buttocks

The Phallic Stimulation of a Goose's Neck

Viktoria Freie
(Nada Urbánková)

The Resistance's Homemade Bomb

Milos Having Fulfilling Sex with Viktoria


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