44 user 29 critic

Union Station (1950)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 8 September 1950 (USA)
2:15 | Trailer
A sharp-eyed woman spots a man with a gun on a train and her alert to the railroad police helps them in their search for a ruthless gang who have kidnapped a blind heiress.


Rudolph Maté


Sydney Boehm (screenplay), Thomas Walsh (story)





Cast overview, first billed only:
William Holden ... Lt. William Calhoun
Nancy Olson ... Joyce Willecombe
Barry Fitzgerald ... Inspector Donnelly
Lyle Bettger ... Joe Beacom
Jan Sterling ... Marge Wrighter
Allene Roberts ... Lorna Murchison
Herbert Heyes ... Henry L. Murchison
Don Dunning Don Dunning ... Gus Hadder
Fred Graff Fred Graff ... Vince Marley
James Seay ... Detective Eddie Shattuck
Parley Baer ... Detective Gottschalk (as Parley E. Baer)
Ralph Sanford ... Detective Fay
Richard Karlan Richard Karlan ... Detective George Stein
Bigelow Sayre Bigelow Sayre ... Detective Ross
Charles Dayton Charles Dayton ... Howard Kettner


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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Did You Know?


There were two former mayors of Mayberry--the setting of The Andy Griffith Show (1960)--in this movie: Parley Baer (Mayberry Mayor Stoner) was a cop and Dick Elliott (Mayberry Mayor Pike) was a powerhouse workman. See more »


When bad guy Joe Beacom approaches the locked door to the tunnels, all four panes of glass in the door are intact. In the next shot, shot from *inside* the tunnels, one panel is broken, and Beacom reaches through that pane to open the door. See more »


Inspector Donnelly: The people you have to deal with are lice. They never keep their word to anyone about anything; they won't to you.
See more »


Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »

User Reviews

Taut thriller maintains high degree of suspense...
6 January 2008 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

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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Release Date:

8 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Manhattan Madness See more »

Filming Locations:

Saugus, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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