The Ghost Train (1941)

“When the train come tearing and a roaring through the station, with its whiskers blowing and it haunted steam up …” A curious little artifact of British cinema featuring a strong ensemble cast, The Ghost Train starts off as a comedy, casually morphs into an atmospheric horror flick and ends up as a farfetched but reasonably entertaining mystery. A group of diverse passengers gets stranded overnight at a supposedly haunted train station during a torrential downpour and chaos ensues. According to legend, anyone who so much as gazes on the “ghost train” due to pass through the station sometime during the night will face insanity and/or death. As “Tommy Gander,” diminutive comedian Arthur Askey steals the show with his relentless vaudeville-style antics. Warning: You will either love or loathe Askey’s frantic, scene-chewing performance (there is no middle ground here, folks!) and your reaction to the movie as a whole will most likely hinge on your tolerance for Askey’s at times irritating comic schtick. The quite capable cast also includes Carole Lynne, Richard “Stinker” Murdoch, Peter Murray-Hill, Stuart Latham, Betty Jardine, Kathleen Harrison, Morland Graham, Herbert Lomas, Linden Travers and Raymond Huntley. Directed by Walter Forde, The Ghost Train was based on Arnold Ridley’s 1923 play of the same name. Harrison (1892-1995) is perhaps best known for her amazing performance as “Mrs. Dilber” opposite Alastair Sim’s “Ebenezer Scrooge” in the classic 1951 film Scrooge (A Christmas Carol).

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