This is a wonderful western in a tradition of it's own (by res6ngw7)
Murphy has a smile on his face for most of the movie. It's plain to see that he was having fun making the movie and it is definitely fun to watch. Stewart also appears to be having quite a time while making the movie. The accordion prop is borderline hilarious considering his other roles, such as the Man from Laramie. The "Kid" turns out to have a good side to him even as he robs the railroad and shows abilities with a hand gun. The setting for this movie is beautiful to behold.This is a wonderful western in a tradition of it's own.
One of my favorites (by kannahspapa)
I have watched this movie many, many times and I find it enjoyable every time. I have found this to be one of my favorite Audie Murphy vehicles. The role Audie played as the Utica Kid is quite refreshing, I'm sure that not all the badmen were void of personalities. The witty and sarcastic dialogue between Utica and Whitey shows how the leadership of the gang was always open ended. Throughout the movie the end is always assured in that good will prevail, you still have the hope that Grant will convince Lee to return to his father teachings. I believe that anyone watching this movie will <more>
There have been some write-ups as to why Anthony Mann quit the film, either as a result of not getting along with James Stewart or his criticizing Audie Murphy on his acting ability. Personally, I think it might be the latter because I can't fathom anybdy in Hollywood not getting along with James Stewart! But, one thing is certain... the Mann trademark locations had already been determined before Mr. Mann left. Colorado never looked better! And the wide screen format just enhances this! I like films with trains. Here we see an extended train sequence through that beautiful scenery, <more>
including a fairly spectacular crash with the water tower.It's been written in a couple places here that the cast was somewhat weak. While I do agree that Jack Elam only had a bit to do, we've still got James Stewart, Audie Murphy, Dan Duryea great over-acting stint! , Elaine Stewart, Dianne Foster, Brandon De Wilde, Jay C. Flippen, Robert Wilke looking like an older Richard Widmark , Hugh Beaumont, Paul Fix, and a nice scene with Olive Carey. That's a pretty good bunch for TV Director James Neilson to put through their paces.The Cinematography gets a 10. The rest gets a solid 9. Highly recommended!
NOT your typical Western – but very good (by SimonJack)
"Typical Western" is one of those frequent time-worn labels I think some people use who don't find this particular genre of much interest or entertaining. It's like the "typical war movie," the 'typical musical," the "typical romantic comedy," the "typical mystery." I apologize to people who write such things, because I don't read them. If someone can't describe the qualities – good or bad – of a film, but instead choose to use such catch-all phrases as "typical," well – I typically don't think there's <more>
much reason to read their comments further. A couple of reviewers gave that label to "Night Passage," and I tried to think what was so typical about it. How was it like Stagecoach? El Dorado? Once Upon a Time in the West? High Noon? Along Came Jones? MacKenna's Gold? Angel and the Badman? The Searchers? Hombre? Rooster Cogburn? The Big Trail? Major Dundee? One-Eyed Jacks? Broken Arrow? Gunfight at the O.K. Corral? Man of the West? The Man Who Killed Liberty Valance? Open Range? The Cowboys? Fort Apache? The Horse Soldiers? The Magnificent Seven? This is just a sampling of some of the better "typical" Westerns that are all quite different in plot, setting, action, and scenery. So, how is Night Passage typical? Well, it has guns and horses and cowboy hats and boots and a fist fight and women. And, it has an accordion and some singing. Now that's real typical for a Western. And there's a train. Yes, indeed, probably half a dozen to a dozen Westerns have been made that have trains in them – out of 200 or more notable films of the genre. And Western scenery? Absolutely – only this is set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with trees and mountains and streams, but not lots of sagebrush or buttes of Monument Valley. It does fall short on some "typical" things such as the one or two "standard" Western towns. Mostly this is shot in a train camp, a mining area, and in the great outdoors.Enough of my tongue-in-cheek fun with the typical-ness of Night Passage. This is one very good film with a very interesting plot. But mostly, it has a top notch cast – a big one – of excellent actors who all give very good performances. And the scenery is spectacular. Just a typically very good Western all around. And just different enough to not bore one to death watching it.
Kudos for Audie Murphy's acting and James Stewart's accordion playing (by krorie)
Without Anthony Mann to deliver the goods, one would expect "Night Passage" to be a flop under the direction of the TV-oriented James Neilson. Quite the contrary is the case. This is one of the best westerns of the 50's. Audie Murphy, continually underrated by the Hollywood big wigs, turns in his best performance ever, even better than in the more touted "The Red Badge of Courage" or in "To Hell and Back" in which he plays himself. One senses that he is actually portraying himself more in "Night Passage" than in his autobiographical film. He is up <more>
against stiff competition and more than takes care of himself. James Stewart is fine as always and his accordion playing is above average. Hell, even his singing isn't all that bad. Some entertainers with less musical talent have built careers for themselves in the record industry. Dan Duryea gives an over the top rendition of gang leader Whitey Harbin, which isn't bad, just different for the gifted actor. The only one wasted in the picture is the fabulous Jack Elam, given only a minor character role with no place to go with it. The rest of the cast, including Hugh Beaumont, aka Ward Cleaver, strut their stuff, including the two women, Dianne Foster and Elaine Stewart. Brandon De Wilde is still playing his Joey Starrett part from "Shane." The viewer can almost hear him yelling, "Shane! Come back, Shane!"The script by Borden Chase from a story by Norman Fox is a fairly predictable one, reminiscent in some ways of the more complex one Chase wrote for the Stewart/Mann masterpiece, "Winchester '73." Grant McLaine Stewart wants his old railroad job back. He's provided the opportunity by doing a job for the railroad, personally carrying the payroll to the workers at the end of the track to prevent Whitey and his gang from stealing it as they were in the habit of doing on a regular basis. There is a conflict of interest though since a gun riding with the Whitey gang is The Utica Kid Murphy with whom McLaine has a private connection. Unable to find the payroll, Whitey and his gang kidnap the wife of railroad tycoon, Ben Kimball Jay C. Flippen , holding her until the payroll is turned over to them. The title "Night Passage" concerns not only the action that takes place in the night between McLaine and the gang but also the personal transactions that occur among the assorted characters involved in the resolution of the story.Another asset for "Night Passage" is the cinematography zeroing in on the beautiful Colorado landscape around Durango. The Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride from Durango to Silverton is available for tourists to see the topography first hand. The El Rio de las Animas Perdidas The River of Lost Souls , called the Animas River by most, is indeed a site to behold.
Not on the level of an Anthony Mann film, but still good. (by tmwest)
Anthony Mann backed up from this film because he did not like the Borden Chase script. The character played by Audie Murphy, has certain changes of attitude that are not convincing, not due to his performance, but to the script. Appart from that the film is entertaining, has nice scenery, good music by Dmitri Tiomkin and excellent action scenes. Stewart plays the accordion and sings a very catchy song "You can´t go far without a railroad". It also has top quality villains, Dan Duryea and Jack Elam.
Really a nice 50s western (by whidbeydanielg)
Would I rather watch this film again or a recent super-hero film?Answer: this one.It is a far-more-than-competent 50s western, with some really great stars and less-known characters like Oliver Carey, wife of Harry Carey and mother of Harry Carey, Jr. . The music and scenery are great, and beautiful.The story is compelling and solid. and, frankly, Audie Murphy was great in it. He was a far more accomplished actor than he is usually given credit for. He is easy to watch, comfortable in any role, and gives a very solid performance in any film. Jimmy Stewart could sing, and he could do a <more>
decent soft shoe. Do a youtube search and you will find him. Is it OK that I wish he was still alive and making movies? Is it OK that I wish Audie Murphy was still alive and making movies?