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Ruth Raymond works on the switchboard and her boyfriend is John Blake. It has taken 14 years, but a detective named Murray has found her and confirmed that she is Ruth Carson. As a child, she was kidnaped by her uncle and is the daughter of a wealthy railroad tycoon. Under the watchful eye of Godfrey D. Scott, an attempt on her life is foiled. But a fake telegram put her on a private railroad car heading east. It is in this car that her life is again in danger and people are murdered. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A contemporary item listed the gorilla Naba for a role in the movie, but the Call Bureau Cast Service has Ray Corrigan in the role. However, all scenes with the gorilla appear to be an actor in a gorilla suit. See more »
Godfrey D. Scott:
You see, a detective appears after the crime is committed. A deflector appears before the crime is perpetrated and deflects it. And the deflection is in direct ratio with the animus of the exciting body.
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An amateur crime deflector' finds his skills put to the test aboard a transcontinental train when there's MURDER IN THE PRIVATE CAR.
All of the much-loved elements of the Old Dark House spook films can be found in this regrettably obscure little thriller -- damsels in distress, mysterious legacies, strange disappearances, hairy clutching hands, sudden death, terrible menace (and, for a few delicious moments, a rampaging gorilla)-- except here it all takes place in the fancy carriage car of a swiftly moving train. The plot moves just as quickly, catapulting the viewer along, with the climax especially fast & furious.
The delightfully quixotic humor of comic actor Charles Ruggles is highlighted as his offbeat character relentlessly pursues the solution of the mystery. His bemused encounter with the denizens of a smashed circus train--camel, kangaroo and MGM's Leo the Lion--is especially funny. The teaming of Ruggles with pert & perky Una Merkel is inspired. Her sarcastic wisecracks, uttered in that wonderful Southern drawl, are the perfect counterpoint to Ruggles' wry utterances.
The rest of the cast offers good support: Mary Carlisle as a terribly endangered rich girl; Russell Hardie as her stalwart boyfriend; Berton Churchill as a slightly stuffy millionaire who's about to face enormous peril; Porter Hall as a protective lawyer; and Fred Snowflake' Toones as a terrified train porter.
Movie mavens will recognize Sterling Holloway as a gossipy office boy and Walter Brennan as a train yard switchman, both uncredited.
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