A trainload of silk puts Neil Hamilton on the fast track to murder in this full-throttle thrill ride costarring Sheila Terry and Guy Kibbee. As the demand for raw silk goes sky high, ... See full summary »
A trainload of silk puts Neil Hamilton on the fast track to murder in this full-throttle thrill ride costarring Sheila Terry and Guy Kibbee. As the demand for raw silk goes sky high, crooked businessman Wallace Myton (Arthur Hohl) corners the market with plans to drive up the price. Determined to fulfill his contracts, manufacturer Donald Kilgore (Hamilton) imports $3 million worth of silk to Seattle and accompanies it by special train to New York. But when his secretary is found murdered, Kilgore soon discovers Myton has planted three killers on board with orders to stop the express and its passengers dead in their tracks. Written by
The Silk Express is a fast moving crime story loaded with Warners' supporting actor regulars: Guy Kibbee, Robert Barrat, Harold Huber, Allen Jenkins and Arthur Hohl. For train fans, there are scenes of an actual train filmed for the movie, along with stock footage of a train going through a snow storm on the way to New York. If the basis of the screen story seems odd, about importing a load of silk to break the "corner" a speculator has on silk supplies, at least the story is different. Warner Bros. in 1933 had an unequaled team of professionals who could turn out polished movies on the cheap. There are probably as many scenes in this 62 minute movie as a 90 minute movie now. And, just like in another Warners crime movie, Fog Over Frisco, when someone receives a telegram, you see an authentic looking telegram on the screen. The only things out of place in The Silk Express are the leads, Neil Hamilton and Sheila Terry, apparently brought in on a trial basis to see if they were Warners material. They did not stick around at Warners. Soon they would have company, as Jack Warner's cost cutting at the studio caused a migration of acting talent to other studios (among them Loretta Young and William Powell). The Silk Express is an example of the quality that Warner Bros. routinely put on the screen from 1931 to 1934, movies set in the Depression-era present that have not dated as badly as the studio product from MGM and other studios.
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