As the title has it, the film is more concerned with the work half of that equation. A terrorist has planted a package of explosives on a train — or, as one character puts it, “Some joker’s been monkeyin’ around with your load!” — and Lyncort is called into action to diffuse the situation.
Meanwhile, an elderly gentleman keeps saying, “I like trains! I like trains!” as if he had been kicked in the head by a mule.
I’m making the movie sound fun. Forgive me. Terror on a Train is painfully low-wattage for a thriller, even when you adjust and account for its age. By comparison, 1949’s The Window, a picture for which director Ted Tetzlaff is better-known, suffers from no such problems — and it’s even older.
Terror has no terror, no true suspense. It’s so well-mannered, it never quite leaves the station. It’s a waste of Ford, a Hollywood legend. I hate to say it, but I found its trailer — contained on Warner Archive’s DVD and embedded below — to be more entertaining. —Rod Lott