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A convict being escorted in for retrial escapes at Grand Central and threatens his old girlfriend on the phone. She flees for her new beau's private railcar at the same station. When she is then found murdered the cops round up a motley group of suspects including the escapee, several guys feeling sore at the way the gold-digging broad had treated them, some jealous dames, and a private eye already on the case. Inspector Gunther soon has a problem - enough evidence to fry all of them. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Not a bad murder mystery with an interesting slant, gathering the usual suspects together in one place to flush out the guilty one takes place at the beginning of the film rather than at the end as would normally be the case. This enables the story to unfold in flashback fashion as told by each of the suspects. Van Heflin shines in one of his early roles. He seems a bit brash in places but otherwise is excellent. Patricia Dane in one of her few cinema appearances does well as the nasty gold digger who is murdered. Sam Levene made good money playing the dumb police inspector in several films of the period including two Thin Man's. So he knew his part by heart. And it's good to see veteran actor Millard Mitchell in one of his early roles.
When I first watched "Grand Central Murder," I reasoned it was taken from a play because that is how it runs. There are a few action scenes involving trains, especially at the end, but otherwise it could all have taken place on stage. This makes the movie very talkative and is a major weakness. I was surprised to see that the screenplay was adapted from a novel by Sue MacVeigh. So director S. Sylvan Simon must be to blame. The script is well-written with many witty lines. Not a bad way to spend 73 minutes.
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