THE SILK EXPRESS
(director: Ray Enright; screenwriters: story by Houston Branch/ Houston Branch/Ben Markson; cinematographer: Tony Gaudio; editor: Ralph Dawson; music: Bernhard Kaun; cast: Guy Kibbee (McDuff), Sheila Terry (Paula Nyberg), Dudley Digges (Prof. Axel Nyberg), Neil Hamilton (Donald Kilgore), Allen Jenkins (Rusty aka Raymond Griffith), Arthur Hohl (Wallace Myton), Robert Barrat (lawyer, Calhoun), Vernon Steele (Dr. Raph), Arthur Bryan (Clark, train conductor), Harold Huber (Guard, Craft), George Pat Collins (guard, Burns), Ivan Simpson (Johnson); Runtime: 61; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Henry Blanke; Warner Home Video; 1933)
“An exciting thriller set aboard a speeding train.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An exciting thriller set aboard a speeding train. It’s helmed in an easy-going manner by Ray Enright (“An Angel From Texas”/”Dames”/”Wild Bill Hickok Rides“), Houston Branch writes the story that he co-writes with Ben Markson.
The dashing young silk importer Kilgore (Neil Hamilton-the future Commissioner Gordon on TV’s Batman), head of the manufacturers’ association, plans to crush a crooked monopoly of silk merchants led by the hoodlum Wallace Myston (Arthur Hohl), who hope to illegally corner the market in silk and send prices skyrocketing through the roof. Kilgore attempts to bring $3 million dollars’ worth of the Far-Eastern fabric to New York in less than three days to quell their plans. While riding on the special highball express, out of Seattle, carrying the furs and special guards (Harold Huber & George Pat Collins ) and only regular passengers, Kilgore makes an exception and allows Professor Nyberg (Dudley Digges) aboard. The archaeologist has contacted a deadly tropical sleeping disease and can only be helped at the Rockefeller Institute before he becomes completely paralyzed. His daughter Paula (Sheila Terry) is concerned for her dad, and hopes he can reach NYC in time. When Detective McDuff (Guy Kibbee) spots a corpse on the train (which turns out to be Kilgore’s secretary) and his meddling threatens to stop the train, Kilgore resorts to unusual action to deal with the situation. Meanwhile an ensuing snowstorm, a kidnapping and arson occur. Positive the killer is still on the train, the prime murder suspects become either a stowaway hobo (Allen Jenkins) or the train conductor (Arthur Bryan).
REVIEWED ON 11/16/2015 GRADE: B