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TERROR ON A TRAIN (aka: TIME BOMB) (director: Ted Tetzlaff; screenwriter: Kem Bennett/from the novel Death at Attention by Kem Bennett; cinematographer: F. A. Young; editors: Frank Clarke/Robert Watts; music: John Addison; cast: Glenn Ford (Peter Lyncort), Anne Vernon (Janine Lyncort), Maurice Denham (Jim Warrilow), Harcourt Williams (Vicar), John Horsley (Constable Charles Baron), Victor Maddern (Saboteur), Harrold Warrender (Sir Evelyn Jordan), Bill Fraser (Constable J. Reed), Campbell Singer (Inspector Branson), Herbert C. Walton (Charlie), (Sgt. Collins); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating:NR; producer: Richard Goldstone; MGM; 1953-UK)
The modest suspense film packs enough tension to make it watchable and Glenn Ford, as always, delivers a fine performance.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

One of these race against time thrillers to defuse a time bomb in a populated area. The modest suspense film packs enough tension to make it watchable and Glenn Ford, as always, delivers a fine performance. Director Ted Tetzlaff (“Johnny Allegro”/”The Window”/”The White Tower”) efficiently directs, while padding the story with a dull domestic subplot. Kem Bennett writes the screenplay from his novel Death at Attention.

At the Birmingham station, a saboteur (Victor Maddern) places a time bomb on a Brit freight train carrying explosives north to Portsmouth, to a Naval shipyard. When Constable Baron (John Horsley) notices a suspicious character in the train yard, at night, he stops him and a scuffle occurs with the saboteur escaping. In the police station, the saboteur’s satchel was recovered that he left behind when fleeing. It’s searched and contains wires and a box of detonators. The chief constable of Birmingham (Harrold Warrender) and a top security official, Jim Warrilow (Maurice Denham), are notified, as Jim contacts Major Peter Lyncort (Glenn Ford), a former member of the Royal Canadian Engineers’ bomb disposal unit who now lives and works in private industry in Birmingham, to see if he can locate if a bomb has been placed on the train and then to dismantle it. Meanwhile the train has been diverted to the less populated town of Felsworth, where the citizens are evacuated. While Peter works all night searching for the bomb, the cops go on a manhunt for the saboteur.

Peter’s French speaking wife Janine (Anne Vernon) has left him to return to Paris after they had a row and doesn’t know he’s been called to emergency bomb dismantling duty. She left because she finds him now dull and living in Birmingham, which she calls the pits.

We’re left to see if Jim can dismantle in time the time bomb and if his wife really left him.

The story holds no surprises, but the high quality of the production (good acting and great visuals) makes up for the story’s predictability.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”