Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Your Favorite Mystery Taking Place on a Train: Book or Movie

Watched the TV version of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, which was disappointing. Suchet played it as grimly and judgmentally as possible and it seems like a lot of text about religion was added. Also I don't remember it as being quite so much a Poirot in every scene affair. And also it was quite claustrophobic, which may or may not be there. I'll take the Albert Finney version.

Anyway, I love movies/books set in trains. And my favorite is THE LADY VANISHES. Love every minute of that one. Love Chalders and Caldicott and their cricket obsession.

I have never read the book though.

What is favorite fictional train trip?  (I am sure I have asked this before because I can ever remember some responses).

And anyone who wants to name the HOMICIDE episode from season 6 set in the subway, yes!


32 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, no doubt, Murder on the Orient Express is my top train novel, Patti. But then there's Strangers on a Train, too...

Charles Gramlich said...

I recently finished and very much enjoyed "The Girl on the train" Although it doesn't take place all on a train it did feature one pretty prominently.

George said...

I'm fond of the train portion of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband like that one too, Charles. I haven't seen RUSSIA since I saw it at the theater. Have to rewatch.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Right! The fight with Rosa Klebb was a classic.

THE LADY VANISHES (the original, of course, not the Elliot Gould/Cybill Shepherd disaster) was a favorite.

THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (original, haven't seen the remake).
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (Finney)
RUNAWAY TRAIN

My favorite, however, might be THE NARROW MARGIN (1952).

Steve Oerkfitz said...

The original Taking of Pelham 1,2,3. A lot takes place on a subway train. I remember that episode of Homicide very well. With Vincent D'Onorfio.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You can watch it on you tube. Such a brilliant on and six years into the show by then. Even the opening is so great.
I haven't seen THE NARROW MARGIN in years. Have to see it again. PELHAM is amazing.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Yes, that HOMICIDE episode is certainly among the most memorable ever.

Jerry House said...

What came immediately to mind was a movie I saw on television as a kid, probably in the late fifties or early sixties. I hadn't thought of this one in years but it always remained in the back of my mind because it was so odd. I don't remember the name, I don't remember much of the plot, and I don't remember the stars. It was a black-and-white western and the main character was a railroad detective investigating something and in the end he had a fight with the surprise villain (who turned out to be a werewolf!) and the villain fell off the train and was killed. If memory serves, we had no idea there was a werewolf until the big reveal.

I'm pretty sure this was an actual film and not something I dreamed up. Anyone out there know what it was?

Jerry House said...

And while not a book, Craig Rice and Stuart Palmer's short story "Once Upon a Train" has been a favorite. John J. Malone and Hildegarde Withers together -- what's not to like?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hope Todd Mason stops by to ID this one, Jerry.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Could it be this, Jerry. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059125

J F Norris said...

I'm glad someone said THE NARROW MARGIN, a top notch suspense movie set on a train. that's my pick, too. The original is the best, not the remake with Anne Archer (whatever happened to her?) and Gene Hackman. The train in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is the Orient Express, too, I believe.

SLEEPERS WEST is pretty good. It's supposedly based on Fred Nebel's novel which I've not read and can't tell you if it resembles the source book at all. Probably not because 20th Century Fox turned it into a Mike Shayne movie with Lloyd Nolan as the private eye. That studio took a mess of other writer's books and threw in Shayne to continue the series. He's not at all like Halliday's Shayne, but he was very good in the part.

Some good books with train settings that I'm sure no one has read: BOMBAY MAIL by Laurence Blochman (truly one of the best of its kind), FREE RIDE by James M. Fox (sort of like the movie Midnight Run with DeNiro and Charles Grodin), and STREAMLINED MURDER by Sue MacVeigh.

Tried searching imdb.com to help Jerry verify the existence of such a movie (maybe a TV episode?) but I came up with nothing. Sorry.

J F Norris said...

Don't think it's Dr. Terror's House of Horrors. That's an anthology horror movie in the manner of Tale from the Crypt. The unifying core of the movie with the tarot card fortune teller is set on a train, but the werewolf story takes place in a country manor house and an architect is the lead character. Doesn't take place on a train with a railway detective. It's also in color. My guess was a 1954 TV series called "Stories of the Century" which featured Jim Davis as Matt Clark, a railway detective. Each episode seems to deal with a real outlaw from American West history. No sign of a supernaturally tinged episode in that western series based on the plot summaries I read.

Jerry House said...

It's neither one of those, John. It's definitely not a television show. I think I saw on one of those local afternoon movies the stations would air in those pre-talk show days of yore. I hope someone can ID it; I'd really like to see it again if only to prove that I'm not senile.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I have! Read BOMBAY MAIL, that is. I did mean to mention that too.

Gerard Saylor said...

I skipped that episode of HOMICIDE. I admit it was way too distressing for me to watch.

Gerard Saylor said...

This reminded me of two things.
CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO with Joe Namath which I don't recall having a mystery.
Also there was SUPERTRAIN. Donald E. Westlake himself is credited as a co-creator of that dreck.

Also of interest is that I was trying to recall the title of SUPERTRAIN and ran across this blog, https://obscuretrainmovies.wordpress.com. Their review of SUPERTRAIN describes it as, "120 minutes of corny, over-acted, disco-soiled dreck."

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Jackie said:

THE HARVEY GIRLS
VON RYAN'S EXPRESS
THE POLAR EXPRESS

J F Norris said...

I always thought SUPERTRAIN was inspired by the 1976 movie SILVER STREAK with Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh and Richard Pryor, a much better spoof of train suspense thrillers. SUPERTRAIN came three years later. Can't be too much of a coincidence.

Gerard Saylor said...

Norris, I am sure you are correct. SILVER STREAK skipped my mind entirely.

From what I read and recall SUPERTRAIN was also a LOVE BOAT rip-off. The train was huge and rode on tracks that were 10' wide and did a cross country journey.

Don Donovan said...

THE NARROW MARGIN (1952)

Never has the claustrophobia of a train been so perfectly rendered on screen.

TracyK said...

I am glad that Gerard Saylor said he skipped that episode of HOMICIDE. My husband and I are such wimps we could not finish the episode.

I guess I will have to stick with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (Finney) as my favorite, but I enjoy just about any movie or books with a train setting.

TRANSSIBERIAN with Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer was good.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Tempted to rent THE NARROW MARGIN tonight
Loved TRANSSIBERIAN. What appended to Mortimer?

Yvette said...

THE LADY VANISHES for sure, though the book is not nearly as good as Hitchcock's film. I also love NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH, a 1940 film with Rex Harrison, Paul Henreid and Margaret Lockwood.
I love the book, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie and pretty much the film with Albert Finney as Poirot.

TWENTIETH CENTURY (to my mind one of the funniest movies ever made) has a hilarious train trip with John Barrymore and Carole Lombard at the top of their form. Oh my goodness but it's funny.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, yes, TWENTIETH CENTURY is heaven.

bloodymurder said...

That episode of HOMICIDE was brilliant. Everybody loves stories set on trains, right? I really enjoyed the latest version of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS though most of the action takes place after it stops! Erica Jong of course has that amazing seen on a train in FEAR OF FLYING (ahem) but Buster Keaton's THE GENRAL is one of my favourite films ever so let me add that one to the mix :)

Graham Powell said...

Night Train to Munich is very good, though they don't get on the train until maybe halfway through - and once they do, it features a surprising cameo. There was also a movie called Sleeping Car to Trieste which is really kind of dull. The original Pelham is terrific. Everybody in the cast is outstanding.

Graham Powell said...

Oh, and there was a pretty cheesy 70s all-star extravaganza called The Cassandra Crossing that still managed to have some good moments. My favorite: the passengers are trying to blow a hole in the floor between cars so they can uncouple from the rest of the train (spoiler: before it goes over a bridge that they know will collapse). They've opened the taps on a butane tank but their improvised fuse burns out. An older man, a Holocaust survivor, walks towards it slowly and pulls a lighter from his pocket...

But it was pretty dire.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have always meant to see THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER but never came across it. Also a novel by Japrisot.

TC said...

Terror By Night, with Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, and Alan Mowbray. One of the last in Universal's 1940s Sherlock Holmes series. (Maybe THE last.)

From Russia With Love.

Istanbul Express (1968). It is just a routine spy drama, but any movie with Senta Berger as a femme fatale can't be all bad.

The Three Stooges short, Hold That Lion. Moe, Larry, and Shemp, with a cameo by Curly. It was remade, with stock footage, as Booty and the Beast.

TC said...
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