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Murder in the Private Car (1934)

Passed | | Mystery, Romance | 29 June 1934 (USA)
Ruth Raymond works on the switchboard and her boyfriend is John Blake. It has taken 14 years, but a detective named Murray has found her and confirmed that she is Ruth Carson. As a child, ... See full summary »

Director:

Harry Beaumont

Writers:

Ralph Spence (screen play), Edgar Allan Woolf (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Ruggles ... Godfrey D. Scott (as Charlie Ruggles)
Una Merkel ... Georgia Latham
Mary Carlisle ... Ruth Raymond
Russell Hardie ... John Blake
Porter Hall ... Alden Murray
Willard Robertson ... Elwood Carson aka Hanks
Berton Churchill ... Luke Carson
Clifford Thompson ... Allen (as Cliff Thompson)
Fred 'Snowflake' Toones ... Titus (as Snowflake)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Semels Harry Semels ... Evil Eye (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

Ruth Raymond works on the switchboard and her boyfriend is John Blake. It has taken 14 years, but a detective named Murray has found her and confirmed that she is Ruth Carson. As a child, she was kidnaped by her uncle and is the daughter of a wealthy railroad tycoon. Under the watchful eye of Godfrey D. Scott, an attempt on her life is foiled. But a fake telegram put her on a private railroad car heading east. It is in this car that her life is again in danger and people are murdered. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 June 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rear Car See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Ruggles and Una Merkel later both appeared in Disney's The Parent Trap (1961). See more »

Goofs

When the train pulls into the Holton station, there is a shot between it and a stationary train when an odd fading jump cut is made. The people walking between the trains change, as does the position of the train pulling in on the left. See more »

Quotes

Godfrey D. Scott: Keep the home fires burning, Abner.
See more »

Connections

Version of Red Lights (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ruggles & Merkel Spark Mystery Thriller
15 May 2004 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

An amateur crime ‘deflector' finds his skills put to the test aboard a transcontinental train when there's MURDER IN THE PRIVATE CAR.

All of the much-loved elements of the Old Dark House spook films can be found in this regrettably obscure little thriller -- damsels in distress, mysterious legacies, strange disappearances, hairy clutching hands, sudden death, terrible menace (and, for a few delicious moments, a rampaging gorilla)-- except here it all takes place in the fancy carriage car of a swiftly moving train. The plot moves just as quickly, catapulting the viewer along, with the climax especially fast & furious.

The delightfully quixotic humor of comic actor Charles Ruggles is highlighted as his offbeat character relentlessly pursues the solution of the mystery. His bemused encounter with the denizens of a smashed circus train--camel, kangaroo and MGM's Leo the Lion--is especially funny. The teaming of Ruggles with pert & perky Una Merkel is inspired. Her sarcastic wisecracks, uttered in that wonderful Southern drawl, are the perfect counterpoint to Ruggles' wry utterances.

The rest of the cast offers good support: Mary Carlisle as a terribly endangered rich girl; Russell Hardie as her stalwart boyfriend; Berton Churchill as a slightly stuffy millionaire who's about to face enormous peril; Porter Hall as a protective lawyer; and Fred ‘Snowflake' Toones as a terrified train porter.

Movie mavens will recognize Sterling Holloway as a gossipy office boy and Walter Brennan as a train yard switchman, both uncredited.


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