The Midnight Express (1924)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This railroad melodrama, featuring fading star Elaine Hammerstein, gave up-and-coming actor William Haines his first notable role (he was on loan to Columbia from Goldwyn). As Jack Oakes, the wastrel son of a railroad magnate, Haines actually has more to do than Hammerstein. Jack's father (George Nichols) becomes frustrated with his son's wild ways. To prove himself, Jack goes to work in the railroad yard as a laborer. An escaped convict, Silent Bill Brachley (Pat Harmon), steals Jack's car, and the chase leads to a meeting between Jack, the engineer of the Midnight Express, and the engineer's pretty daughter, Mary (Hammerstein). As he is led back to jail, Brachley swears revenge. As soon as he is able to escape again, he corners Jack at a dispatch station and the two duke it out. Jack wins the fight just in time to save the Midnight Express from a row of freight cars that have broken from their engine and are headed in its direction. Jack finally wins his father's respect, and Mary's love. After viewing the film, famed femme fatale Peggy Hopkins Joyce told Screenland magazine that the kiss between Haines and Hammerstein was the best she'd ever seen onscreen. As a result, Goldwyn publicists tried -- unsuccessfully -- to create a love match between Haines and Joyce. This is all the more ironic because Haines was one of the most well-known homosexuals of the silent era.



accident, capture, career, criminal, daughter, engineering, love, playboy, President, railroad, redemption, rescue, romance, son, train [locomotive]