Rome Express is a fast-moving British imitation of Hollywood's Grand Hotel formula. The film concentrates on the various passengers of a European express train. On this particular run, the train is a veritable hotbed of intrigue, with crooks and blackmail victims seemingly in every coach. Among the naughty and nice characters are continental favorites Conrad Veidt, Cedric Hardwicke and Finlay Currie, as well as American silent film star Esther Ralston. Rome Express enabled director Walter Forde to graduate from inexpensive regional comedies to prestige British productions. The film was also an obvious inspiration for such later intrigue-on-the-rails epics as The Lady Vanishes (38) and Night Train (39). Rome Express was remade in 1948 as Sleeping Car to Trieste.
by Hal Erickson synopsis