Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Suspenseful film “Terror on a Train”
Anytime anyone on screen has to defuse a bomb, the tension and suspense is always high. This plot has worked in any number of films from Michael Powell’s “The Small Back Room” in 1949 to Richard Lester’s “Juggernaut” in 1974 to Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient” in 1996. It was even the plot of a British TV series from 1979 called “Danger UXB.”
In “Terror on a Train,” average-guy Ford is the only expert who can get to the targeted train in time to do the job. The former World War II service man is now settled into a suburban life in England with his volatile French wife. The subplot of the wife feels tacked on and adds nothing to the movie.
What works like crazy is seeing Ford arrive at a small village where the train has been sidetracked and realize he has only hours to find the detonator that will ignite half a dozen train cars loaded with undersea mines. The job is nearly impossible, but he tackles it – gently. Every bump could set off an explosion that would not only vaporize Ford and the train, but also a big hunk of the town.
This taught little 72-minute, black-and-white thriller was directed by Ted Tetzlaff, who four years earlier made the terrific suspense film, “The Window.”
If “Terror on a Train” shows up on cable, watch it. And don’t let the title turn you off. This is a good one.
(For more posts on movies, TV and more, check out Todd Mason’s blog.)