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The Phantom Express (1932)

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A railway is threatened by mysterious wrecks, which turn out to be caused by criminals using a unique deception.



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Cast overview:
William Collier Jr. ...
Carolyn Nolan
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
D.J. 'Smokey' Nolan
Hobart Bosworth ...
Mr. Harrington
Axel Axelson ...
Axel, the Fireman
Eddie Phillips ...
Dick Walsh
Robert Ellis ...
Ma Nolan
David Rollins ...
Jackie Nolan
Tom O'Brien ...
Red Connelly the Telegraph Operator
Huntley Gordon ...
President of Rival Railroad (as C. Huntley Gordon)
Brady Kline ...
Slim - a Thug
Jack Pennick ...
Bubba - a Thug


An engineer at the throttle of a locomotive speeding through a tunnel sees the lights of a train approaching from the other end. Although the signals say the track is clear, he still sees the train's lights. He grinds the train to a halt, derailing it. He survives, but many passengers are killed. He is fired in disgrace, but sets out to prove his innocence by finding the "phantom express." Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

train | railway | See All (2) »


Mystery | Thriller





Release Date:

15 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il lampo  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

Starring the beautiful Miss Blane
8 March 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Trains are being derailed along a particular line by a "phantom express" (or so the old drivers think). They see engine lights and hear train noises before their engines are derailed. Nobody else can see anything.

William Collier Jnr.(from "Little Ceasar" (1930)) plays Bruce Harrington, the bosses son who wants a chance to prove his worth. He begs to be allowed to investigate the mystery of the train wrecks.

J. Farrell MacDonald is outstanding as the old engine driver who is convinced something is up. The scene when he is sacked and comes home to his birthday party is very powerful. The emotion he gives to the scene where he is looking at his medals for bravery is very sad.

The exquisitely beautiful Sally Blane plays his daughter Carolyn. One look at her across a desk and Bruce is willing to forgo his playboy lifestyle and work under cover at the railroad - it is not that hard to believe!!!!

Claire McDowall, an original member of D.W. Griffith's stock company plays the mother. David Rollins was a handsome leading man in a few of the early sound musicals (he partnered Sue Carol in "The Breakaway") has the small part of the son Jackie. Lina Basquette was a Follies beauty and a star for Cecil B. DeMille (she starred in his "The Godless Girl") - she has a couple of fiery scenes as Betty, a girl friend of Bruce's. There is a ton of talent in this film - names that conjure up memories.

This is an outstanding drama that was not at all predictable. How they solve the mystery of "The Phantom Express" is surprising and not what you would expect.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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