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Rail Tour of Europe's Great Cities

June 23, 1991|BETTY MARTIN

"Great Cities of Europe" (International Travel Films, 1990, 85 minutes).

An entertaining video tour for travel buffs and a teaser for those dreaming of Europe for the first time, the film covers six cities as producer-narrator Doug Jones describes his rail itinerary and offers a history of the cities covered.

The familiar sites of London--from Big Ben to the Tower of London, and including St. Paul's Cathedral, Fleet Street, parks and squares--go by, as does a night tour of the city.

By train and ferry, the tour continues to the Netherlands to roam Amsterdam's colorful streets, canals and old gabled houses. There are also stops in Dam Square and at the Royal Palace and Alkmaar cheese market. Crafts are featured at the Delft Porcelain plant, diamond centers and flower markets. Viewers also get to see the much-photographed windmills.

Next stop is Copenhagen, where the video goes to the Little Mermaid, the Stroget (walking street), the ornate stock exchange building, the Frederiksborg, Fredensborg and Rosenborg castles, the latter for views of the crown jewels and the changing of the guard. Then a visit to Silversmith Georg Jensen's workshop, Carlberg Brewery and Tivoli Gardens.

A train and ferry trip across the Baltic goes to Berlin, where the tour includes the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and the ruins of its pre-World War II tower, the shops along the Kurfurstendamm and the lively night life in cabarets and cafes. There's also a visit to the Charlottenburg Palace and to some contemporary art galleries.

The Brandenburg Gate and the infamous wall are shown blending current history with old film clips of former President John F. Kennedy's historic visit. There's also a brief tour of the East Berlin area.

Jones continues his journey by rail to Vienna, where he shows the Austrian addiction to music and the coffee house and the home of the Sacher Torte, in addition to the opera house, statues of some famous musicians and dancers whirling to Strauss waltzes. Also shown are the impressive Parliament House and some of the architectural extremes in the city--from colorful contemporary, 20th-Century Baroque to the classical Schonbrunn and Belvedere garden palaces.

In Rome, the film offers the Spanish Steps and some of the piazzas and fountains around which Italians are shown enjoying la dolce vita. There are scenes also of the horrendous traffic, the Tiber River, the ruins in and around the Forum and Colosseum, and the Vatican City square for a Papal Mass.

The train brings viewers to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and the Sacre Couer, the Place de la Concorde and the Rue de Rivoli's arcaded shops, hotels and cafes.

The film also takes viewers to the Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame cathedral and the contemporary Pompidou Centre. Traffic scenes include the metro system and a cruise down the Seine River. And there are nighttime views of the Arc de Triomphe, Pigalle, Moulin Rouge, sidewalk cafes and the Folies Bergere.

There are no travel tips or recommendations.

Available from International Travel Films, P.O. Box 39402, Los Angeles 90039, (213) 663-4334. Price: $29.95.

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