Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Well continuing this relatively new haphazard series of me watching a film in segments after returning home late at night from the evening shift at work we come to this. A 1957 Widescreen western starring James Stewart and Audie Murphy.
In the days when televisions were black and white and (as they were not widescreen – you youngsters really don’t know how lucky you are) they could only show a small part of the movie picture films were made like this to be as panoramic and colourful as possible to show the cinema going public what they were missing. This is a good example. If you want to see Panoramic American countryside time and time again then this is the movie for you.
Essentially the plot is this. Trains carrying wages for railway workers building the railroad are being robbed by an armed gang. Stewart a down on his luck ex railroad guy is hired to carry these wages on the latest journey. And when I say down on his luck, he had to eek out a living playing the accordion and singing for next to nothing. James Stewart was an actor of considerable talents. But what this movie revealed was that singing was not one of them.
So when he’s offered the job he does it. Not for the money but because “you belong to the railroad and it belongs to you”….yeah right.
Audie Murphy is Stewart’s estranged brother and of course part of the train robbing gang. He is, ahem, on the wrong part of the railway tracks. Of course to believe that Stewart and Murphy are brothers even if Murphy describes himself as a “kid brother” really stretches your imagination. It was a good thing when I watched it that I was half asleep.
And the thing is. The biggest and only surprise in this film is that Audie Murphy is actually the better actor than Stewart. He gets to kiss the girl. He gets to say to Elaine Stewart (with blonde hair that seemingly was lacquered to death in the way it defied gravity) “Want to ride with me?” with a straight face (seemingly referring to going on a horse. The answer in either case was no). He is having fun.
Commercial Break time: You know when you’re growing old when you remember the man selling the opportunity to reclaim PPI for Gladstone Brookes when he was younger as well. Boy he’s growing old. I remember the first ad for them. It was so rude. Practically calling the viewer an idiot if he/she didn’t contact them.
Back to the film.
A word about it’s title. There’s no journey by railroad or otherwise in the night at all in this film (except in one very low key way). Why it was called Night Passage is beyond me.
Audie Murphy may have been the best thing about this movie (and he was) but he didn’t save it. Not an awful picture. Just you felt at the end you could have done something better. As if you’ve wasted precious moments of your life watching it.
Until the next time.