HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Night Train to Murder What Do You Think Of It So Far?
Year: 1983
Director: Joseph McGrath
Stars: Eric Morecambe, Ernie Wise, Margaret Courtenay, Kenneth Haigh, Fulton Mackay, Pamela Salem, Lysette Anthony, Roger Brierley, Edward Judd, Ben Aris, Tony Boncza, Frank Coda, Big Mike Crane, Robert Longden, Penny Meredith, Tim Stern, Richard Vernon
Genre: Comedy, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Our story starts in 1946 Carlisle where Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise (as themselves) are playing to a packed yet unenthusiastic theatre with their song, dance and comedy act. Meanwhile, in the foyer a young woman has arrived, Kathy Chalmers (Lysette Anthony), who is Eric's niece and she has news for him. It seems a distant, elderly relative has passed away and she is due a great deal of inheritance, so she wishes her uncle to accompany her to the reading of the will, he being the closest family member she has. But while they discuss what to do after the show, what they don't notice is a sinister, masked figure skulking around in the wings - until a sandbag hits Ernie square on his head...

Night Train to Murder was not supposed to be the final bow for one of Britain's most beloved comedy double acts, it was actually promised to them as the beginning of a fresh start in their career to revive their movie prospects, but as it turned out Eric Morecambe, who was never in the healthiest of shape and by the eighties was ailing thanks to his heart condition, died before this had a chance to be shown to the public. That might have been a blessing in disguise, for all Thames Television's assurances that it would have a cinema release - this was one of the main bonuses to the duo moving from their worldbeating BBC shows to the decidedly second rate ITV ones - it was actually broadcast on television.

It did get a few cinema bookings afterwards, as part of the lower half of double bills just as such things were fading out, but you can't imagine many being fooled that this was really silver screen material: it was shot on videotape and looked depressingly cheap, which tended to take away from any of its more overt ambitions. That said, there is a not-so-grand tradition of great stars having their final appearances in deeply unimpressive productions, so you could regard Morecambe and Wise as carrying that on, even if it was not something you could take much satisfaction from. But was Night Train to Murder the unfunny footnote its reputation had it, not that the double act were terribly happy with it either, or was there some worth to salvage from it?

Of course, with this duo there were going to be a handful of laughs at least, and if their best scriptwriter Eddie Braben wasn't working with them here then they did seem to have learned from him, both of them having a hand in the screenplay. It was just that by returning to the old comedy thrillers of their youth - The Cat and the Canary was an obvious influence, especially in the latter half - they were resurrecting a style that had been old hat for decades, even in spoof form, so there was a dusty mood to much of the goings-on. Was there really anything more to be said in the form that Morecambe and Wise could bring to the table? This was less Bob Hope than it was Arthur Askey, and aside from a few irreverent giggles you could practically hear the plot and jokes creaking from overuse.

The night train of the title, which might lead you to expect a Hitchcockian influence in a The Lady Vanishes sort of way (there's even a cameo by Hitch, except he's not, he's some fat bloke with the theme music to his TV show played over him), makes up only a small part of the story, for eventually the characters settle in a Scottish mansion, accompanied by Fulton Mackay as the solicitor who appears to know more than he's letting on, only by the end that was either a red herring or simply a thread that led nowhere in particular. From there you can predict where it will go, with the relatives bumped off one by one, apparently by an escaped lunatic but actually by one of the people gathered for the reading of the will. There was a reliable selection of actors here, mostly TV talent, from Pamela Salem as the vampish cousin to Kenneth Haigh as a kilt-wearing American, but this was Morecambe and Wise's show all the way as they were in the limelight thanks to veteran Joseph McGrath's direction, and if they had a bigger budget this might have been successful. As it was, a slightly sad, misty-eyed way to end.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3395 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Joseph McGrath  (1930 - )

Scottish director of film and TV comedy who debuted as one of four directors on the chaotic James Bond spoof Casino Royale. The Terry Southern-penned Magic Christian was a bizarre comedy whose cast included Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, while 1973's Digby, The Biggest Dog in the World is a much-loved kids favourite. McGrath also helmed The Great McGonagall, another oddball Milligan comedy, and big screen version of Rising Damp.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: