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The Phantom Express (1932)

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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 80 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 3 critic

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


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Title: The Phantom Express (1932)

The Phantom Express (1932) on IMDb 5.5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Collier Jr. ...
Bruce Harrington
Sally Blane ...
Carolyn Nolan
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
D.J. 'Smokey' Nolan
Hobart Bosworth ...
Mr. Harrington
Axel Axelson ...
Axel, the Fireman
Lina Basquette ...
Eddie Phillips ...
Dick Walsh
Robert Ellis ...
Claire McDowell ...
Ma Nolan
David Rollins ...
Jackie Nolan
Tom O'Brien ...
Red Connelly the Telegraph Operator
Huntley Gordon ...
President of Rival Railroad
Brady Kline ...
Slim - a Thug
Jack Pennick ...
Bubba - a Thug
Jack Mower ...
Head 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


Mystery | Thriller





Release Date:

15 August 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Phantom Express  »

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

Outstanding Early 1930's Action Thriller
18 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Without a doubt, The Phantom Express (1932) is my all-time favorite early talkie, railroad-themed movie. J.Farrel McDonald is outstanding as Smokey Nolan, the long-time engineer. I've seen a few other movies where McDonald plays a railroad-related part (e.g., with Victor McLaglen in The Broadway Limited) and it would appear that McDonald probably worked for the railroads prior to becoming a very good character actor as he played his parts with a great deal of ease and apparent intimate knowledge of the subject matter. Phantom Express was also very interesting from the standpoint that it was shot in live action, in/around LA and the Southern Pacific Railroad (including real shots of the SP boardroom at the old Central Station at 5th and Alameda), the SP Alhambra Roundhouse, Burbank Tower, etc. Also, the special effects modelling scenes were very much ahead of their time in terms of realism. All together, an excellent film of which I own several copies.

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