Union Station

1950

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir / Thriller

2
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 1897

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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March 22, 2018 at 04:00 PM

Cast

William Holden as Lt. William Calhoun
Nancy Olson as Joyce Willecombe
Robert Easton as Con Victim
Barry Fitzgerald as Inspector Donnelly
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
661.06 MB
968*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 21 min
P/S 0 / 3
1.27 GB
1440*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 21 min
P/S 1 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by secondtake 7 / 10

A terrific formula film. It doesn't rise above, but it takes off beautifully.

Union Station (1950)

I saw "Sunset Blvd" right after seeing this one, and it really is pretty cool that the two leads here were in such different films. And with such ease. William Holden is the key actor in both cases--in the sense of screen time, of course, but also screen presence. But Nancy Olson as a kind of sweet stereotype is right on. Good stuff to build a movie around.

Or the other way around. Certainly in both cases there is a core concept that the actors fit into. "Union Station" has, by way of its title right off the bat, a clean focus. Holden plays William Calhoun, head of security for a fairly large train station in an unnamed town. The crime almost doesn't matter--it's a kidnapping with ransom--because we never quite feel for the victims (hostage and hostage's family) so much as feel the investigation happen. And key there is an odd and believable clash (romantic clash) between Calhoun, who has to do his job, and Olson's character, who is a typical person who wants to do good but doesn't understand the cool machinations of police work.

The first half of the movie is more interesting for its turns of plot. It leads us through the various stages of the discovering the crime and the nature of its extent without pushing. It's quite a nice insider look at the logic of it. Then the second half turns to more action--chasing and drama pure and simple, with some of the best low light shooting you can ask for.

This is the era when studios are moving away from shooting on lots to finding locations to work in, and some of the scenes are fabulous. The stock yard chase toward the beginning is fabulous, and all the ventilation tunnel scenes at the end equally so. The station itself, which takes up the bulk of the movie, is interesting and nicely contained. This is a movie you can simply "watch" for its visual flow, and the sites. In fact, I did this twice, almost by accident, because I was tired in the first round and wanted to see what I missed. In terms of plot, nothing much shows up the second time around, but the editing and photography are really so fine you can watch it all twice no problem.

Back to "Sunset Blvd." then--there is on some level no comparison between the two, as movies, even if there are lots of overlaps in time and cast. It's not just that Billy Wilder is a far more inventive and interesting director than Rudolph Mate, but the intentions were far bigger. "Union Station" is a formula picture. It's not even a film noir, but an action drama with low key light and vigorous photography. It's worth noticing that Mate is a photographer, and was director of photography for some seriously wonderful movies. And he has a handful of great films to his resume, too. So he attacked what must have been an obvious boilerplate movie and made it really really good. Check it out.

Reviewed by jpdoherty 7 / 10

Finally, Another Classic Noir Unearthed.

Paramount's UNION STATION (1950) is another memorable noir from Hollywood's golden past making its belated DVD debut. A gritty and compelling thriller it was adapted for the screen from the violent novel "Nightmare In Manhattan" by Thomas Walsh. Daniel L. Fapp's stark Black & White cinematography brought a great style to it with its shifting use of light and shadow and the genuine locations, especially in the bustling Union Station itself in Los Angeles, added a realistic look and feel to the whole thing.

A girl (the resistible Nancy Olson) sees a man (Lyle Bettger) on a train wearing a gun under his jacket and immediately suspects him of being up to no good (how it never occurs to her that he could perhaps be a cop is conveniently glossed over). She however reports the matter to the conductor who in turn alerts railway cop William Calhoun (William Holden). It soon comes to light that the man with the gun and another have kidnapped a blind girl and are holding her hostage for a ransom of $100,000 from her well to do businessman father (Herbert Heyes). Things really hot up when Calhoun, with help from the city police headed by Inspector Donnelly (Barry Fitzgerald), stakeout Union Station - the nominated drop zone for the ransom. The picture ends with a climactic chase sequence as Holden pursues Bettger through a maze of dark tunnels underneath the station for the inevitable and exciting shootout.

Performances are generally fine throughout. Holden is terrific in it but it is unusual to see him as a cop. He plays the part well but watching him you can't help thinking he is an actor of a much higher calibre than is called for here and deserving of classier and more artistically challenging parts such as his Acadamy Award winning role as Sefton in "Stalag 17" (1953) or his perfect Joe Gillis in "Sunset Boulevard" which he and his co-star here Olson would embark on right after UNION STATION. Also kicking around his thick Irish brogue again Barry Fitzgerald repeats his role, almost verbatim, from "The Naked City" (1948) the only difference being his name here is Donnelly instead of Muldoon. But there's little doubt the movie belongs to Lyle Bettger as the heartless and sadistic kidnapper. Beside Jack Elam has there ever been a meaner or nastier baddie in movies? Born in 1915 Bettger made a full career out of playing menacing characters. He had a sinister smirk and a scary glare that was positively unnerving. His first film was Barbara Stanwyck's "No Man Of Here Own" just before UNION STATION and with the exception of only one time playing the hero in "Carnival Story" (1954) he continued throughout a busy career to be every moviegoer's favourite baddie "you loved to hate". Lyle Bettger retired in 1979 and died in 2003 at the age of 88.

Unusually there is no one composer credited with scoring the picture. But there are minor contributions from Heinz Reomheld and stock music from Victor Young and Hugo Friedhofor. There is a spirited main title over the credits which sounds very much to me like something the great Victor Young could have written. The score was compiled and supervised by Irvin Talbot.

The DVD release is an impeccable transfer with sharp as a button images and smooth sound. Clearly they had access to a new print of the movie and it shows. But there are no extras - not even a trailer. But now for a word of caution! Watch out for the most ridiculous and irritating logo you are ever likely to see which comes at the start of the DVD from a crowd called Olive Films. This has to be some kind of gag! But after all is said and done you can be confident, this silly intro. does nothing to diminish the excellence of the movie which remains a timeless classic.

Reviewed by Jonathon Dabell 10 / 10

A lost classic which should be rediscovered and hailed as the masterpiece that it is.

I suppose that every movie lover and every film critic has one film that they love which makes everyone else shrug in bewilderment. I remember Barry Norman once publishing a book about his 100 favourite movies, and no-one could fathom why a well-made but totally disposable entry like "Gregory's Girl" was on his list. Similarly, many years ago BBC2 ran a short film series in which famous actors and directors revealed and spoke about their favourite film. Everyone was taken aback when Martin Scorcese came up with "Duel In The Sun" as his choice! Well, for me, the oddity among my list of all-time favourites would have to be Union Station. Since the first time I caught this fantastic crime thriller on Channel 4 one rainy afternoon, I've considered it one of the finest films of its type that I've ever come across. Not only did the story engross me, but the film inspired me to become a lifelong fan of William Holden, and also made me develop a serious crush on the lovely Nancy Olson.

Railway police man William Calhoun (William Holden) is having a fairly routine day at work when he is approached by an apprehensive passenger named Joyce Willecombe (Nancy Olson), who believes that two travellers aboard her train may have been up to no good. It transpires that Joyce is the secretary to a rich man called Henry Murchison (Herbert Hayes), whose blind daughter, Lorna, has been kidnapped and held for ransom. The railway station where Calhoun works has been chosen as the location for the pay-off of the ransom. Calhoun and fellow cop Inspector Donnelly (the atypically-cast Barry Fitzgerald) race against time to find the kidnappers and bring them to heel.

Pacy, exciting, surprisingly violent and very well-acted, Union Station is 80 minutes of terrific entertainment. Sydney Boehm's script is filled with incident, and Rudolph Mate directs the proceedings with a sense of urgency and a real talent for building the suspense. Holden - fresh from his masterpiece Sunset Boulevard - is in fine form and Olson (also from Sunset Boulevard) is an ideal leading lady, who not only gets the hero involved in the action but also pressurises him into not just nailing the bad guys but rescuing the abducted blind girl too. Impressive performances are also to be found from Barry Fitzgerald as Holden's colleague, and (especially) Lyle Bettger as the kidnap mastermind, a snarling and exceptionally nasty villain for a film of this era. The climax, involving a frenzied shootout and a chase through underground tunnels, is truly heart-stopping. Union Station is a first-rate thriller.... if ever a film needed rediscovering, then this surely is it!

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