THE BLOCK SIGNAL (1926)
Article 3192 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-15-2010
Posting Date: 5-11-2010
Directed by Frank O’Connor
Featuring Ralph Lewis, Jean Arthur, Hugh Allan
What it is: Railroad drama
An engineer whose eyesight is beginning to suffer depends on his fireman to tell him the color of the signals. An ambitious fireman, hoping to open up a position for himself, deceives the engineer about the color of the block signals, and the result is a two-train collision. The engineer loses his job and the fireman takes his position. Can the ex-engineer be vindicated?
You’ll have to get through half of this movie before the fantastic content starts to manifest itself; the second half of the movie revolves around the ex-engineer’s attempt to invent and test a new type of brake that can be used to prevent train accidents, an element which pushes the movie into the realm of science fiction. The overall story is entertaining enough, though it is a bit clumsy and rather contrived. Fortunately, the heroes are likable enough that you hope they come out all right, and some of the train footage is quite exciting. Overall, not a bad little movie.