Watched Jun 03, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
As a huge fan of the excellent Peter Hyams remake, which I've seen several times now, it's about bloody time I got round to watching the Richard Fleischer directed original.
Detective Charles McGraw is tasked with protecting a witness who is due to testify against the Mob on a cross-country train. He has company on board, however, he has an advantage in that they don't know what she looks like.
To be honest, there is not a great deal here that would warrant anyone thinking that it needed a remake, as it is a pretty unremarkable if fairly entertaining film noir, and you can see why the Gene Hackman version changed and added so much. Its one major bright spot is Windsor, who is surprisingly unsympathetic and nasty as the leading lady. It was quite a surprise at just how vile she was.
McGraw, though, is a struggle throughout - far too nervous and twitchy and largely unconvincing as a hero. Throw in one of the most irritating cute kids that I've ever seen in a film and a largely uninteresting support cast, and it takes a pretty remarkable twist 10 minutes from the end to grab your attention again. Decent, but I expected much better, especially from a director of Fleischer's quality.