Union Station (1950): On Ice in the Train Shed

Union Station (1950)

Police manhunt for a kidnapped blind girl

Union Station (1950) directed byRudolph Mate is a period crime action movie set in Chicago that marks the transition from the classic period of film noir to the 50’s police procedural. While the picture is weakened by a conventional plot and a fairly laconic performance from William Holden as the railway cop, the location shooting (actually on the streets of LA) has a “naked city” feel and the action played out in Union Station is made interesting by certain noirish episodes.

A truly bungled surveillance op on an elevated railway line climaxes in a cattle stockyard where a chase and shootout leaves one of the hoods trampled to death after a stampede set-off by the gun-fire.

Union Station (1950) Union Station (1950)

A second hood spills the beans to the cops after he is taken down to the train shed to be worked-over and threatened with decapitation by steam train.

Union Station (1950) Union Station (1950)

The final chase and shootout in the labyrinthine power plant and service tunnels under Union Station is a classic, with superior direction and camera work.

Union Station (1950) Union Station (1950)

But the really impressive scene is when the cops arrive late at night on a deserted street outside a suspected hideout in a sleazy boarding house. It flows elegantly and has a strongly surreal quality without musical scoring.

Union Station (1950) Union Station (1950)Union Station (1950) Union Station (1950)


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