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Terror on a Train

Choo-choo-choose something else.

Rod Lott June 20th, 2013

Not to be confused with the ’80s slasher Terror Train — but, oh, how I wish it were! — 1952's Terror on a Train finds Glenn Ford (Superman: The Movie's Pa Kent) as Peter Lyncort, a bomb diffuser whose home life with his spouse (French actress Anne Vernon) is currently as explosive as his work life.


As the title has it, the film is more concerned with the work half of that equation. A terrorist has planted a package of explosives on a train — or, as one character puts it, “Some joker’s been monkeyin’ around with your load!” — and Lyncort is called into action to diffuse the situation.

Meanwhile, an elderly gentleman keeps saying, “I like trains! I like trains!” as if he had been kicked in the head by a mule.

I’m making the movie sound fun. Forgive me. Terror on a Train is painfully low-wattage for a thriller, even when you adjust and account for its age. By comparison, 1949’s The Window, a picture for which director Ted Tetzlaff is better-known, suffers from no such problems — and it’s even older.

Terror has no terror, no true suspense. It’s so well-mannered, it never quite leaves the station. It’s a waste of Ford, a Hollywood legend. I hate to say it, but I found its trailer — contained on Warner Archive’s DVD and embedded below — to be more entertaining. —Rod Lott

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