The Ghost Train Cover Don't worry, mate. One should be along in a minute. Not long now. All we have to do is stand here and patiently pass the time until the next 85 minute movie made in 1941 comes along. Look. Here's one coming. One Directed by Walter Forde; and Starring: Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, with Kathleen Harrison. Choo-Choo! Booooom!

The Ghost Train - The Ghost Poster

I say, I say, I say! What do you think an old bird, some chap from Somerset, a young couple, a G.P., plus a right bruiser and his lovely lady friend, will all have in common?

No. The answer isn't 'dysentery', silly. The answer is that they're all stranded on same haunted train station as I am. Me. The comic and all round entertainer: Tommy Gander (Arthur Askey). All because we missed our connection, and can't go anywhere because it's blinking raining outside.

Yeah. That's right. It's raining, and the station we're on is f*cking haunted. Just before he buggered off into the stormy weather, the Station Master had the nerve to tell us an old story about a train crashing here years ago, and how it keeps on 'coming back' at the very same time every blooming night.

But don't worry yourself, playmates. After we set up shop in the waiting area, I manage to entertain these guys and girls as best as I can. Going so far as to rest up for a short while so we can have a nice cup of tea and a little spat.

Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all gets null and void, when the Station Master eventually returns as dead as a dodo. As a sudden shock plops like a puss - a mad woman causes a right bloody fuss - a ghost train makes me want to cuss - and at the end of the day, I think it best if we all catch the bus.

[ Sorry. Not The Trailer. But It Is A Clip Of Arthur In Action ]

Now the only way you can tell if you're really going to like watching 'The Ghost Train' or not, is if you answer 'yes' to most of the following five statements. Because would you say you're a fan of:
a)     A pretext that relies heavily on characterization rather than plot.
b)    Vaudevillian type humor of the slap-stick variety.
c)     A cast of simple looking character's who appear somewhat lop-sided at best. With some of them actually engaging with the tale in itself, whilst the others are mealy present for the sake of a few throw away gags.
d)    A well polished black and white production.  
e)     A story-line that is mostly well structured, even if it does meaner off slightly at the end of it.

The Ghost Train Foreign Film Poster
OK. So how did you cope with this test, my friends? Personally speaking, I was about three quarters 'yes' and one quarter 'no', Because even though I didn't mind sitting back and watching some of this comedy, as I kind of expected, there were a few parts of it I wasn't very keen on either.  

In general I'd say my biggest gripe was during the latter section of this film, as it had a very abrupt way of introducing two new characters into it, as well as trying to resolve the initial 'haunted choo-choo' situation. From my perspective this departure felt a bit too rushed and stilted in the execution; as if someone had the need to logically explain away its somewhat simple pretext. 

Also, something else about this picture I wasn't too sure about -- but only mildly mind you -- was how my old mate Arthur Askey came across moderately 'top heavy' on occasion. And if truth be told, sometimes his presence was a little bit irritating here and there.

Now please don't get the wrong impression, dear reader. I know that Arthur was a legendary English comedian for his time, and inspired many of the other comics who followed in his footsteps. It's just that despite chuckling at most of his gags, whenever a piece of plot would come along, I'd get slightly annoyed at how his 'funny-man act' would hold up these proceedings. Almost making him appear like a deterrent which halted the film from telling the actual tale.

The Ghost Train Starring Arthur Askey

Arthur Askey
Anyway. That's enough of that for the moment, folks. So let us now sit back and check out the following filmic-facts. (1) 'Gainsborough Pictures' first released this production in the UK, on the same day that Liverpool was blitzed by German forces -- the 3rd of May, 1941. (2) Loosely translated, this project was entitled 'Fight Night' in Greece, whereas every other country stuck to its original name. (3) The majority of this movie was shot on location throughout numerous parts of England and Wales. In Wales you might've noticed Barmouth Bridge and Fairbourne Station, located in Gwynedd. Whilst in England you might've noticed Dawlish Warren, Liskeard Station, and Teignmouth, located in Devon and Cornwall; plus Shepard's Bush, located in London. (4) This thriller was based on a 1923 play of the same name written by the playwright / actor, Arnold Ridley, who starred as Godfrey in the sitcom, 'Dads Army'. Arnold once said he was inspired to write it after being stranded at Mangotsfield railway station, near Bristol, for a whole evening. (5) Val Guest, who co-wrote the dialogue for this film, went on to become a British film director, best known for his 50's science-fiction dramas for 'Hammer Film Productions'. (6) This tale was made eight times in total between the years 1927 to 1976. (7) In the scene where the Station Master refers to the crash that took place 44 years earlier -- 'on the evening of the Diamond Jubilee' -- in actual fact, this sub-reference refers to Queen Victoria's 60 year celebration of her own reign. Tuesday, the 22nd of June, 1897. (8) After this comedy pulled out of the station, Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, plus Kathleen Harrison, all starred in the comedy, 'I Thank You', which was directed by the same director on this film, Walter Forde.

The Ghost Train Artwork

Overall I'd say 'The Ghost Train' was a fairly fine film to watch. Some of the jokes worked. Some of the actors didn't. And even though the story was moderately easy to follow, it wasn't very scary, yet it was of it's time.     

Nuff said.


THE GHOST TRAIN (1941) THE GHOST TRAIN (1941) Reviewed by David Andrews on May 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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