Though definitely a "B" movie, Railroaded has a number of "A" list elements to recommend it, not the least of which is John Ireland's deliciously macabre performance as the villain of the piece. Cold-blooded and irredeemably nasty, Ireland's heartless performance verges on the perverse; he's not a man who necessarily enjoys killing (one gets the sense that "enjoy" is not a word in the character's vocabulary), he's just a man who seems to kill as a way of passing the time, and Ireland does full justice to the character. Railroaded also benefits from Anthony Mann's terse, tense, and atmospheric direction, which revels in the lights and shadows (mostly the latter) of Guy Roe's evocative camerawork. While Hugh Beaumont's detective is a bit stiff, he's still effective, and there's very fine work from Jane Randolph and Ed Kelly and a mostly solid contribution from Sheila Ryan; the cat fight between Ryan and Randolph is a special delight. The script is Railroaded's weakness, fairly predictable and much too superficial, despite a few nice bits (the suspicious manner in which cops are treated by Ryan and Kelly, a crime boss who enjoys Oscar Wilde). The screenplay doesn't derail Railroaded, but it does keep it from being a top-notch noir thriller.
by Craig Butler review