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Spy Train

USA 1943
produced by
Max King for Monogram
directed by Harold Young
starring Richard Travis, Catherine Craig, Chick Chandler, Thelma White, Evelyn Brent, Warren Hymer, Paul McVey, Herbert Heyes, Stephen Roberts, Forrest Taylor, Dick Rush, Bill Hunter, Barbara Mace, Caroline Burke, Bruce Kellogg, George Bronson, Fred 'Snowflake' Toones, Napoleon Whiting
story by Scott Littlefield, screenplay by Leslie Swabacker, Bart Lytton

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Because Nazi spy Herman (Warren Hymer) has bungled up his job, a timebomb gets onto a train across the USA, which isn't only bad for all the Americans travelling on this plan but also a couple of Nazis, the Moltes (Evelyn Brent, Paul McVey), who are not only going on the train but think the bag the timebomb is in contains some important papers and now desperately try to open it - which would of course set the bomb off. Fortunately for everybody, all-American boy Bruce (Richard Travis), a reporter, is also on the train, who tries to charm Jane Thornwall (Catherine Craig) into getting her an audience with her father (Herbert Heyes), and he's quick into realizing the Moltes desperately want something out of the bomb-bag, which by some crazy coincidence has landed in Jane's apartment.

After much to and fro, it is actually Bruce who is arrested for murder and attempted murder (his very own sidekick Chick Chandler) while the Moltes, despite all warnings, take off with the bomb bag ... which goes off exactly when planned, taking care of the Moltes and relieving Bruce of all charges in one single bang ...

 

There are two things I have to say about this movie:

  1. It's based on a pretty spirited story: The basic premise, a timebomb on a train with nobody knowing it is just that, is great and suspense at its purest. Add to this a few colourful characters and confined locations and you've got all the right ingredients for something pretty good.
  2. Why destroy your great premise by an incredibly and unnecessarily stagey directorial effort? Sure, the less camera set-ups you've got and the more basic they are, the easier and more important cheaper the whole thing is to film ... but would a little bit of extra care really have hurt that much?

Now I have to admit, I do like the Monogram cheapos by and large exactly for their cheapness and lack of pretentiousness, but this time around the studio really had a good (if clichéed) story to work with, a story that could have resulted in more than just another Monogram quickie for not all that much more money - and thus it's a shame the film - which is not a total disaster even now - isn't any better than it is.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD