Secretary Joyce Willecombe grows suspicious of two men boarding her train and is referred to 'Tough Willy' Calhoun, head of the Union Station police. The all-seeing, no-nonsense Calhoun is initially skeptical, but the men (who escape) prove to be involved in a kidnap case. Calhoun calls in equally tough police Inspector Donnelly, but the ruthless kidnapper's precision planning stays one jump ahead of them. Most of the action centers around bustling Union Station. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie shows Union Station in its heyday. Due to closures and a subway that was built, many of the scenes in "Union Station" (ie the scenes involving the ransom payments) cannot be shot again in the same way. See more »
When Joe Beacom peeks out of the 'Scenic Route' sign before trying to collect the ransom, a black board is moved alongside the camera and can be seen just before we see Joe inside the sign. See more »
[Sadistically to Lorna about the high tension cables that are all around her]
All you gotta do, Cookie, is get up and take a walk. You'll fry so fast it'll curl your hair.
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Taut thriller maintains high degree of suspense...
UNION STATION is a briskly paced thriller laced with enough suspense to keep the viewer intrigued until the final shootout in a tunnel below the station where badman (LYLE BETTGER) must be tracked down by hard-boiled detective (WILLIAM HOLDEN) so that a blind girl (ALLENE ROBERTS) can be returned safely to her father. Bettger has arranged a ransom for the girl to the tune of $100,000 and is determined to keep a grip on the suitcase containing the ransom money.
NANCY OLSON is the woman on the train who first notices that one of the men has come aboard with a gun and she immediately becomes suspicious enough to report this to the authorities. Lead detective Holden takes charge and he and Olson gradually develop a relationship of trust that leads to the finale where she's tending to his wounded shoulder, while LAPD man (BARRY FITZGERALD) looks on approvingly, sensing love in bloom.
It's directed in almost documentary style with a "Naked City" sort of realism. Holden and the police handle their suspects with realistically rough tactics which further heightens the tense realism of the story. JAN STERLING has a small role as a gun moll (what else?), who lets the police know that Bettger intends to kill the girl once he gets the ransom.
LYLE BETTGER is superb as the snarling villain, easily stealing many of the scenes with his brutally menacing tough guy role. No wonder he played this sort of man in so many films afterwards.
Well worth watching, nice work by Holden and Olson, with faint criticism for Barry Fitzgerald for mumbling much of his heavily accented dialog with that Irish brogue. The only other criticism is that the director allows ALLENE ROBERTS to scream too much, which becomes tiresome and makes Bettger come up with the crack, after slapping her: "For this, he's willing to put up $100,000."
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