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Night Passage (1957)

 -  Western  -  24 July 1957 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,092 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 12 critic

A fired railroad man is rehired and trusted to carry a 10,000 dollar payroll in secret, even though he is suspected of being connected to outlaws.

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Title: Night Passage (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Grant McLaine
...
The Utica Kid
Dan Duryea ...
Whitey Harbin
Dianne Foster ...
Charlotte Drew ( Charlie )
...
Verna Kimball
...
'Joey' / Joey Adams (as Brandon de Wilde in opening credits) (as Brandon deWilde in closing credits)
...
Ben Kimball
Herbert Anderson ...
Will Renner
...
Concho
...
Jeff Kurth
...
Shotgun
Tommy Cook ...
Howdy Sladen
...
Mr. Feeney
Olive Carey ...
Miss Vittles
James Flavin ...
Tim Riley
Edit

Storyline

The workers on the railroad haven't been paid in months --- that's because Whitey and his gang, including fast-shooting, dangerous, but likeable Utica Kid, keep holding up the train for its payroll. Grant McLaine, a former railroad employee who was fired in disgrace, is recruited to take the payroll through under cover. A young boy and a shoebox figure into the plot when Whitey's gang tries to hold up the train and Grant and the Kid meet again to settle an old score. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

payroll | railroad | train | boy | outlaw | See All (99) »

Taglines:

It's a Rough-Riding Adventure full of Fast-Shooting Thrills as the Phenomenal James Stewart heads a Stellar Cast in this Celebrated Western Favorite. See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Uhr ist abgelaufen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally intended to be the sixth Western combining the talents of actor James Stewart and director Anthony Mann (they had also done three non-Westerns together), but Mann pulled out of the project because he wasn't impressed with war hero-turned-actor Audie Murphy. Stewart and the director would never make another picture together. See more »

Goofs

Grant McLaine finds the hideout much too easily. See more »

Quotes

Charlotte Drew: Why must you steal?
The Utica Kid: Because I like to steal! Maybe I like to see what people will do when I take it away from them.
Charlotte Drew: What happens when something is taken away from you?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crime Story: The War (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Get Far Without a Railroad
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Performed by James Stewart (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Workmanlike western with a good cast that gets better in the second half
16 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The workers on the railroad are threatening to stop work and slow down the progress across the country because they haven't been getting paid. Every time the payroll is brought in it is stolen by Whitey Harbin and his gang. Thinking that nobody would suspect him, the bosses ask ex-employee Grant McLaine to carry the money on the next train. However when the train gets robbed anyway, Grant loses the money and is forced to set out after Whitey to rescue a boy, the boss' wife and the money – bringing him into a fight with the infamous Utica Kid.

I was drawn to this film by the names in the cast list, which was a good thing because it were these names that made the film better than they were by virtue of their performances. The actual plot is quite plodding in the first half but gets better in the second half. Even with this stronger half though it is still not a great western that could possibly compare to Stewart's better films. The musical numbers, dances and gentle set up of the first half almost had be losing interest and it is only the twists and gun fights of the final 30 minutes that make it memorable and worth seeing. Even then it is not without other flaws – characters are a problem. If you are able to understand the Utica Kid as a person then you are doing better than I did – in fact the film even lost it's first choice director because he was unable to understand the character's personality or motivation. The rest of the characters are pretty much as you'd expect – loyal girls, evil villains, cute kids etc, although they are made better by the delivery.

Stewart is always watchable and he carries the film well here. He is not a great singer but he does OK with the songs given him but his greater input is in delivering a tough character who is not all pure goodness but has a bit of a past to him. Murphy is cool and slick but he isn't a great actor and he isn't able to make the slightly irrational Utica Kid work as a person. Duryea overacts to good effect but gets forgotten by the film near the end, while support is OK from Stewart, Foster, De Wilde and Jack Elam.

Overall this is nothing special but it is still quite enjoyable. The number of well known names in the cast prevent me from calling it a B-movie but essentially that's what it could have been if not for the stars. The plot is deadly slow for the first half but has a good, fast-paced final 30 minutes that make up for it. The actors (in particular James Stewart) lift the film and make it feel better and it is fun if pretty unmemorable.


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