February 19, 1979 12:00 PM

It takes a little while to build up a head of steam, but once under way, Train is a great ride. Sean Connery is debonair (as always) as the mastermind of a plot to lift a gold shipment (a similar event actually occurred in 1855). His cronies are an actress (Lesley-Anne Down of The Betsy) and a locksmith (Donald Sutherland), and the gang’s meticulous preparation—making impressions of four separate safe keys—is as much fun as the heist. The actors are charming (though 007 in a top hat may give momentary pause), and the clichés are all there, from Victorian vamp to jumping from car to car on top of the train. Streamlined and pleasantly predictable, the movie is just like the book, which is a high compliment. They should be similar. Michael Crichton, who wrote the 75 best-seller, adapted it for the screen and also directed. (PG)

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