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Train of Events (1949, Jack Warner, Gladys Henson)



Absorbing comedy-drama, Train of Events, which surveys what happens to a variety of people caught up in the crash of a train travelling from Euston to Liverpool, was Ealing Studio’s second portmanteau picture (following 1945’s Dead of Night). The four stories which comprise the film are self-contained, their one link being the crash which is revealed near the start, leaving the audience to speculate who will survive.

Jack Warner stars in The Engine Driver, making his final run before an anticipated promotion, but his hopes are jeopardised by problems with his daughter Susan Shaw and her railwayman fiancé Patrick Doonan. In Prisoner of War, Joan Dowling is cast as a friendless girl orphaned in the London blitz who falls in love with fugitive German PoW Lawrence Payne. She steals money from her landlady Olga Lindo to buy him a ticket to Canada but, after the crash, Payne sneaks off, unaware that his ticket to freedom is in Dowling’s bag.

The Composer provides John Clements with an excellent role as a philandering composer and conductor who casts an opportunistic eye on temperamental concert pianist Irina Baronova – until his understanding wife Valerie Hobson, who knows exactly how to deal with Clements’ affairs, steps into the picture. The final segment, The Actor, stars Peter Finch in his first role in a British film after Laurence Olivier brought him over from Australia. He plays a second-rate thespian who murders his faithless wife Mary Morris in a fit of passionate jealousy and then, on the eve of a tour, places her body in his theatrical skip, which he has with him when the train crashes…

production details
UK / Ealing / 88 minutes / 1949

Directors: Sidney Cole, Charles Crichton, Basil Deardon
Writers: Angus MacPhail, Basil Dearden, T.E.B. Clarke, Ronald Miller,

Gladys Henson as Mrs Hardcastle
Jack Warner as Jim Hardcastle
Patric Doonan as Ron Stacey
Valerie Hobson as Stella
Joan Dowling as Ella
Olga Lindo as Mrs. Bailey

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