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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>
Van Heflin brings flair to "Grand Central Murder," a 1942 B movie from MGM about a golddigging musical comedy star (Patricia Dane) who winds up dead in the private car of a train. The suspects include a escaped prisoner named Turk, (Stephen McNally, here billed as Horace McNally), an on and off boyfriend played by Tom Conway, etc. Heflin plays Rocky, a detective who was hired to get evidence so that Turk can get a new trial. At the time of the murder, Rocky and his wife Butch (a young Virginia Grey) were around the murder scene. Rocky and the police lieutenant assigned to the case (Sam Levene) attempt to solve the murder while at loggerheads with one another. Each character tells his or her story in flashback.
This film moves fairly quickly but is ultimately let down by a preposterous denouement. The acting, however, when it isn't great is at least interesting. Heflin is superb - sharp, smart, and funny as Rocky. Sam Levene gets a bad rap for his performance - yes, the director needed to tone him down. Levene was an accomplished Broadway actor and was giving basically a stage performance. Patricia Dane, once married to orchestra leader Tommy Dorsey, is pretty and talks like Jean Harlow, particularly when Harlow would try to sound upper class. Dane didn't get much chance at developing her potential once she told off an MGM executive. In this role, she comes off as cheap and annoying, which is right for the part.
Fairly enjoyable especially for Heflin.
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