6.7/10
3,069
51 user 22 critic

Night Passage (1957)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 26 August 1957 (Sweden)
A fired railroad man is re-hired and trusted to carry a ten thousand dollar payroll in secret, even though he is suspected of being connected to outlaws.

Director:

James Neilson

Writers:

Borden Chase (screenplay), Norman A. Fox (based on a story by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... Grant McLaine
Audie Murphy ... The Utica Kid
Dan Duryea ... Whitey Harbin
Dianne Foster ... Charlotte Drew - Charlie
Elaine Stewart ... Verna Kimball
Brandon De Wilde ... Joey Adams (as Brandon deWilde)
Jay C. Flippen ... Ben Kimball
Herbert Anderson ... Will Renner
Robert J. Wilke ... Concho
Hugh Beaumont ... Jeff Kurth
Jack Elam ... Shotgun
Tommy Cook ... Howdy Sladen
Paul Fix ... Mr. Feeney
Olive Carey ... Miss Vittles
James Flavin ... Tim Riley
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Storyline

The workers on the railroad haven't been paid in several 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 undercover. 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

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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 1957 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Uhr ist abgelaufen See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,600,000, 31 December 1957
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart wasn't impressed with the script, but accepted the role of Grant McLaine because he believed the part would allow him to show off his skills as an accordion player. However, all of his accordion playing was re-recorded by a professional prior to the movie's release. See more »

Goofs

When the gang returns to their hideout after robbing the train, Latigo holds up the bottle of whiskey he took from the train. The card players all come to the bar for a glass. When the bottle is carried to the table it is still full. See more »

Quotes

The Utica Kid: That's a pretty good rig.
Howdy Sladen: Too good for the guy that owned it. Remember that draw you taught me? It worked - he went down with his gun in the leather.
The Utica Kid: And now you're an in-case man.
Howdy Sladen: In-case?
The Utica Kid: Yeah, in case you miss six times with one, you draw the other... if you have time.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Funny Man.
14 April 2010 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

As many Western fans know, Night Passage was all set up to be the sixth genre collaboration between director Anthony Mann and actor James Stewart. After a run of successful and genre defining "adult" Westerns, the prospect of another was mouth watering to the genre faithful. The promise of something good was further boosted by the names of others involved in the project. The screenplay is written by Borden Chase (Red River/Winchester '73), cinematographer was William H. Daniels (The Far Country), the score is from Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon/Giant) and joining Stewart in the cast are Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea, Jay C. Flippen, Jack Elam & the wee lad from Shane, Brandon De Wilde. That's some serious Western credentials. But sadly Mann was to bail at the last minute, the reason(s) given vary depending on what source you believe.

It's thought that Mann was unimpressed with Chase's screenplay, feeling it lacked a cutting edge (as reportedly so did Stewart). The casting of Murphy was also said to be a bone of contention to the talented director, while it has simply been put down to him having other commitments (he had both The Tin Star & Men in War out in 1957). Either way, Mann was out and the film was never going to be better for that situation (sadly Mann & Stewart fell out over it and never worked together again). In came TV director James Neilson and the film was wrapped and released with mixed commercial results. Yet the film still remains today rather divisive amongst the Western faithful, due in the main one feels, to that Mann spectre of potentially a better film hanging over it.

Night Passage is a good enough genre offering, but the plot is slight and the story lacks the dark intensity that Mann, one thinks, would have given it. The story follows an overly familiar tale about two brothers (Stewart/Murphy), one bad, one good. A story from which Chase's screenplay holds no surprises, it is in truth pretty underwhelming writing. With the actual core relationship of the brothers lacking any emotional depth. However, there's more than enough visually here to offset the standard plotting and make this a very enjoyable experience. Shot in Technicolor's short-lived "Technirama" process, the widescreen palette pings once the cameras leave the back lot and goes off into the mountains of Colorado.

Trains are the order of the day here, as Chase adapts from a story by Norman A. Fox, it's the train that becomes the central character, deliberate or not. As the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway snakes its way thru the gorgeous terrain, it's that image one takes away, not anything that the thinly scripted characters have done. Still, in spite of its literary flaws, Neilson shows himself to be competent with the action set pieces, of which there are quite a few. While Stewart is as reliable as ever, even getting to play an accordion (a hobby of his since childhood) and sing a couple of chirpy tunes. Of the rest, Dianne Foster leaves a good impression as the Utica Kid's (Murphy) girlfriend and Murphy himself does solid work with his cheeky grin, slick hair and black jacketed attire that shows Utica to be something of a suspicious character.

Good but not great in writing and thematics, but essential for Western fans with big TV's. 6.5/10


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