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Night Passage (1957)

Approved  |   |  Western  |  24 July 1957 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,271 users  
Reviews: 46 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 overview, first billed only:
The Utica Kid
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
Jeff Kurth
Tommy Cook ...
Howdy Sladen
Mr. Feeney
Olive Carey ...
Miss Vittles
James Flavin ...
Tim Riley


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

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


The Saga of the Brothers and the savagery of their blood feud! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 July 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Uhr ist abgelaufen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filmed in Silverton, Colorado (called Junction City in the movie) using the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. See more »


At the old mill during the shootout you can clearly see an airplane strip in the sky. See more »


Grant McLaine: You like eggs?
Joey Adams: No!
Grant McLaine: That's too bad. You got an omelet comin' up.
See more »


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


Follow the River
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Performed by James Stewart (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

As good as a Mann directed Western?
13 July 2006 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

This is the Western that director Anthony Mann backed away from, claiming that the script was too weak. Was he justified in doing so? How does "Night Passage" measure up when compared with the Mann Westerns? Is it as good?

Let's look at the positives first. The scenery, filmed in the Colorado Rockies, is magnificent, on a par with the best of Mann's Westerns. As for action, there is plenty of it, climaxed with a great shootout. The cast is experienced, many of them veterans from previous Mann efforts. No big difference here.

Audie Murphy stands tall as the Utica Kid. He is introduced to the screen dramatically, framed against the sky dressed all in black as he pulls up his horse to look down upon the train that will soon be relieved of its precious cargo. Back at the outlaw hideaway, he sits back in quiet amusement as he goads mercurial boss Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea), knowing how far he can push and when to back away. Definitely the most interesting character.

However, "Night Passage" falls down in two very important areas, the treatment of the leading man and the strength of the overall script.

Mann's heroes are emotionally scarred, bordering on hysteria and total breakdown before finally getting the upper hand. James Stewart's Grant McLaine never comes close to reaching that point, even though he has plenty of things to fret about; his brother is an outlaw, he lost his job with the railroad after helping his brother escape and he can't find another job. He contents himself playing the accordion and singing for small change and we can never really get the feel of his deep resentment.

Mann's Westerns are lean and taut, with no superfluous dialog and no wasted scenes. Director James Nielson, on the other hand, gets sidetracked, allowing himself to engage in the kind of tomfoolery that director John Ford was sometimes wont to do. At the railroad camp, workers, who we never see working, dance to McLaine's accordion playing until that degrades into a wild free-for-all. Ford could pull off this kind of thing; Nielson is less successful.

To sum up and answer the question, this Western doesn't quite measure up to those of Mann's, but it's not bad either. It can be enjoyed as entertainment as long as one doesn't look for great character depth. Whether Anthony Mann could have made it something more will forever be a matter of conjecture.

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