THE GHOST TRAIN (1941)
Article 2109 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-24-2006
Posting Date: 5-22-2007
Directed by Walter Forde
Featuring Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kathleen Harrison
A group of travelers find themselves stranded in a remote train station overnight. The station master tells them that the station is haunted by a ghost train that comes by in the middle of the night.
Now here’s something really scary – being trapped for eight hours in a train station with Arthur Askey! Not that he’s awful, mind you – it’s just that his in-your-face shtick gets on my nerves rather quickly. Consigned to a supporting comic-relief role, he’d be all right, but here he dominates almost ninety percent of the movie. In fact, it’s a good thirty minutes in the movie before you even get to the legend of the ghost train, and a good twenty minutes after that before any of the plot elements surrounding its appearance really start to manifest themselves. It’s a bit of a shame, really; the horror elements, when they do manifest themselves, are quite striking. Nonetheless, they represent a mere fraction of the running time, and with this much lollygagging and comic mayhem going on, what are the chances of the fantastic elements of the tale not turning out to be faked? Yes, we’re in real Scooby-Doo territory here. All we need is talking dog.