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Efrem Zimbalist Jr.,
"Murder-on-the-train" mystery has lawyer Malone chasing his paroled embezzler client (Kepplar) who still hasn't paid Malone's fee. When Kepplar jumps parole on a train to Chicago, Malone follows, in company with Kepplar's ex-wife, a police inspector and Mrs. O'Malley, a hearty radio contest winner from Montana. Kepplar is murdered, and a game of musical corpses commences, with hijinks in coach corridors as Malone and Hattie search for the killer. Written by
Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>
Sleeping car train is the setting for MGM comedy/mystery...
MARJORIE MAIN and JAMES WHITMORE are the title characters in this comedy/mystery from Craig Rice that moves along at a brisk pace and gives both leads a fun time solving a crime.
The audience may not have as much fun, depending on how witty you may or may not think the proceedings are because the accent is on the comedy angle and many of the one-liners aren't loaded with enough ammunition. Fans of Marjorie Main will probably be delighted with her brass characterization but Whitmore gets a little tiresome in his over-confident manner, never at a loss for a flippant remark.
For what really is an MGM B-picture, the cast isn't bad at all. We have PHYLLIS KIRK, ANN DVORAK, DOUGLAS FOWLEY, FRED CLARK and DON PORTER rounding out a good supporting cast, although Kirk has only a brief role at the beginning. All of them handle the mystery/comedy material with professional ease in a story that has Main and Whitmore discovering two dead bodies while a train is enroute from Montana to New York and trying to solve the murder while eluding the efforts of detective Clark to get to the bottom of the matter. Much of the humor depends on their struggle to get a dead body back and forth into different compartments.
It's a breezy sort of B-film that passes the time pleasantly, nothing more, and at a brief running time of one hour and nine minutes probably played the lower half of double bills in '50.
Trivia note: The scene where Marjorie Main sings with a band is painfully funny (with the pain outdoing the laughter). Not for every taste.
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