John Saxon’s forgotten spy TV movie

Publicity still for Istanbul Express with John Saxon, Gene Barry and Mary Ann Mobley.

Actor John Saxon died today at 83, according to The Hollywood Reporter. according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Saxon had many credits over a long career including Enter the Dragon and Nightmare on Elm Street. But he dabbled in the spy genre, including a 1968 TV movie, Istanbul Express.

Saxon played Cheval, who was in charge of security for a train running from Instanbul into Europe. The TV movie starred Gene Barry as an intelligence agent. The cast also included Senta Berger and Mary Ann Mobley,

There was quite a bit of behind-the-scenes talent involved. The producer-director was Richard Irving, a major player at Universal’s television factory. The writers were Richard Levinson and William Link, the creators of Columbo.

Universal pioneered made-for-TV movies and this espionage story was an early effort along those lines. It’s not well-remembered today.

As it turns out, Instanbul Express is on YouTube (at least for now)

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