A railroad engineer adopts a French orphan while he's fighting in the army in World War I, and takes him back to the US when the war ends. Later the boy needs an eye operation that the ... See full summary »

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Little Bill
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Nora Burke
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Malcolm Gregory
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Red Burley
Duke R. Lee ...
John McFarlane (as Duke Lee)
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A railroad engineer adopts a French orphan while he's fighting in the army in World War I, and takes him back to the US when the war ends. Later the boy needs an eye operation that the engineer can't afford, so he takes the rap for a murder he didn't commit in order to get his son the operation. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Action | Drama

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21 September 1924 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den flammende Død  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Some Flaws But Worth Watching
14 February 2012 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Roaring Rails (1924)

*** (out of 4)

This is one of the most over-melodramatic films that you're ever going to see and it's also one of the most predictable but there's no denying that it has enough charm that you can't help but fall for it. During WWI, soldier Bill Benson (Harry Carey) sees a mother killed leaving her young son (Frankie Daro) all alone so after the war he takes the kid back to the States. Once there Bill starts his old job as a railroad engineer but after a deadly crash he and the boy are forced out West to start over but bad luck follows them. ROARING RAILS, until recently, hadn't been seen since its original release and this is probably the only reason it isn't better known. Had the film been around the past several decades I can't help but think that it would be even more popular but thanks to George Eastman House the film has been restored for future generations. I think it's fair to say that the film is trying to capture the cuteness and charm of Chaplin's THE KID but unlike that film this one here is incredibly mean-spirited and at times it's shockingly violent. The amount of violence aimed at the child is pretty shocking when viewed today but I always say that's why silent movies are so interesting because you never know what they're going to contain. The kid takes quite a bit of abuse from the villains in the film and there's no question that the filmmakers wanted you to hate these guys so that Carey can deliver in the good guy role. Carey is excellent in his part as he can turn on the charm as well as play it straight when the scene calls for it. Darro doesn't give the greatest performance in the world but he's charming enough for the part. Edith Roberts is terrific as the love interest and Wallace MacDonald and Frank Hagney make for some of the greatest villains of the silent era. At just 67-minutes the film drags in spots due to how predictable it is and at times the melodrama is so in-your-face that you feel as if you're being beaten over the head. However, the film works so well that you can overlook its flaws.


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