The Lost Express (1917)

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Helen Holmes and Leo Maloney, who battled their way through quite a few chapters of the seemingly endless The Hazards of Helen (1915-1917) railroad series, are at it again, this time working for Miss Holmes' own company, Signal Film Corp., and in a 15-chapter cliffhanger format. Holmes playes Helen Thurston, yet another stalwart telegraph operator, who, this time, solves the mystery of a train that seemingly vanishes without a trace. That the engine carries a new and valuable formula for granulated gasoline adds to the excitement. On the set, Holmes experienced a bit too much excitement when a runaway boxcar actually ran away almost killing the fearless thespian. Like her previous Hazards of Helen adventures, The Lost Express is directed, co-produced, and co-written by Holmes' husband, J.P. McGowan. Nearly ten years later, they would reteam for yet another railroad melodrama also entitled The Lost Express (1926), this time a feature film released by Rayart Pictures. The plots of the two films, however, are entirely different.