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Monday, December 19, 2016

Last Train From Madrid (1937)

Set in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the government is shutting down the railway line out of Madrid after the final evening train pulls out. In GRAND HOTEL style, a disparate group of characters, good and bad, rich and poor, desperately seek a spot on the train and for some it's a matter of life and death. They include an American journalist (Lew Ayres), an aristocrat (Dorothy Lamour), a deserting soldier (Robert Cummings), an Army Captain (Anthony Quinn), an escaped convict (Gilbert Roland), a Baroness (Karen Morley), a sleazy lounge lizard (Lee Bowman), a girl (Helen Mack) of ill repute and the daughter (Olympe Bradna) of an executed political prisoner. Directed by James P. Hogan, it's varied in its story lines, some are more interesting than others. Hogan manages to slowly build up the tension as you're rooting for your favorite people to make the train safely but wouldn't you know it, the one character I liked the most doesn't make it! It's a programmer and while it doesn't quite have the star line up of GRAND HOTEL or MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, I found it quite engaging. The film features one of Anthony Quinn's rare good roles in the 1930s (he career didn't hit high gear until the 1950s) and Robert Cummings is as awful as ever. With Lionel Atwill and Henry Brandon and Alan Ladd is supposed to have a bit in here but I didn't catch him. 

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