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Murder in the Private Car (1934)

Passed  -  Mystery | Romance  -  29 June 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 152 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

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, ... See full summary »



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: Murder in the Private Car (1934)

Murder in the Private Car (1934) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Complete credited cast:
Scott (as Charlie Ruggles)
Una Merkel ...
Russell Hardie ...
Porter Hall ...
Willard Robertson ...
Berton Churchill ...
Clifford Thompson ...
Allen (as Cliff Thompson)
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ...
Titus (as Snowflake)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Semels ...
Evil Eye (scenes deleted)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mystery | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder in the Private Car  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Harry Semels as "Evil Eye" and Akim Tamiroff as "Italian Man" are supposed to be in the movie, but neither one appears. See more »


Godfrey D. Scott: Both your eyes are very pretty.
See more »


Version of Red Lights (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

Ruggles & Merkel Spark Mystery Thriller
15 May 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

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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