TV Cream

Films: N is for...

Night Train To Murder

Atoll K. Love Happy. Kook’s Tour. The history of comedy acts is littered with sad, misbegotten career sign-offs, and this Morecambe and Wise endpiece is a prime example. Even the staunchest Morecambe-ite has reservations about their three ‘proper’ films, but this comes in way below even The Magnificent Two. After their lacklustre Thames series, Euston Films put together this extended Agatha Christie spoof, with Lysette Anthony as Eric’s neice inheriting a vast fortune, with the resultant attempts on her life taking place on the titular nocturnal locomotive. Like a ‘Play What I Wrote’ extended to near-feature length, this misjudged the atmosphere by making the plot lead the duo’s slapstick like never before, leaving just the odd recycled exchange poking out from a dreary thriller plot. It’s as if Ernie the playwright had finally got the upper hand over Eric, and we get to see the fruits of his artistic labour almost uninterrupted. What humour there is is so tragically muted you could play The Last Post on it. Director Joe McGrath did no further films after this. In a face-saving plea, Eric insisted Thames only ever showed the film in mid-afternoon slots. To be honest, even that’s too good for it.

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