Der Geisterzug (1927)

aka The Ghost Train
Article 3795 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-25-2011
Posting Date: 1-4-2012
Directed by Geza von Bolvary
Featuring Guy Newall, Ilse Bois, Louis Ralph
Country: Germany / UK
What it is: Horror comedy

Several people get stranded at a train station that is haunted by a phantom train.

Here’s another one I managed to save from the “ones-that-got-away” list. My copy had German title cards, but due to the facts that German is the foreign language I’m most familiar with, I’ve already seen the 1941 version of the same story, and the movie relies heavily on visuals, I didn’t have much of a problem figuring it out. I think I actually enjoyed it more than the 1941 version, due to the fact that it’s packed with moody and surreal imagery; for example, even thought they’re obviously using toy trains during the title sequence, the clouds of smoke coming out of the tunnels are so eerie that it works anyway. Furthermore, the comic relief that marred the later movie is a lot more palatable here, with Guy Newall as an eccentric with a little secret, and Ilse Bois as a somewhat prim and proper woman who is also not quite what she seems doing a fine job. The only thing I’m not quite sure about is the exact nature of the villains; in the 1941 version, I believe they were Nazi spies, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case here.


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