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Monday, August 30, 2010

Union Station (1950)

Solid suspenser directed by Rudolph Mate (WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE) is a gritty, unsentimental thriller. It starts off simply enough. A secretary (Nancy Olson) on a train notices a man concealing a gun under his jacket and she reports him to the conductor. From there, it blooms into a race against time $100,000 kidnapping to find the victim whose kidnapper plans to kill her after he collects his ransom. Mate eschews any romantic subplots or other padding and the film wraps it all up in a tight 81 minutes. Curiously, whether intentional or not, the film portrays its blind kidnap victim as annoying, hysterical and shrill and even her kidnapper snaps, "$100,000 for that?". William Holden is the cop assigned to the case. Daniel L. Fapp's B&W lensing gives it a noir-ish feel especially in the final shoot out in an underground tunnel. With Barry Fitzgerald, Jan Sterling, Lyle Bettger, Allene Roberts, Edith Evanson, Kasey Rogers and Herbert Heyes.

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