Holden's first film after SUNSET BOULEVARD was a big comedown back to the routine pictures in which he had long been appearing. Here he is the chief of the railway police at Chicago's Union Station when Olson approaches him to report on the suspicious activities of two gun-toting thugs.
The blind daughter (Roberts) of Olson's wealthy employer (Heyes) has been kidnaped and the culprits have decided on Holden's station as the pickup point for the ransom. When the time comes, Holden has the place completely secured. Despite the diversions afforded by the crowded terminus, the
kidnapers are observed picking up the loot. The gang leader, Bettger, gets away with the money, but his two accomplices are less lucky. The first is chased into Chicago's historic stockyards, where a gun battle panics cattle which stampede, leaving the kidnaper trampled in their dust. The second
accomplice is caught, and police threaten to throw him into the path of a train unless he tells them the whereabouts of the girl and Bettger, the ringleader of the gang. He tells them and they go there, but the villain has fled with the girl. Holden picks up the trail and the final chase occurs in
a service tunnel under the station where the heavy is shot down. The suitcase breaks open and the ransom money falls all over the tunnel.
Stylish direction by cameraman-turned-director Mate. Less episodic than many of the multitude of GRAND HOTEL-style pictures, all of which used a public-access place to integrate a complex variety of stories, UNION STATION still has many minor tales interwoven into its major theme. These lesser
stories, deliberately diverting--as they are to the security forces pursuing the kidnapers--are relevant in the context of the chase in this unusual film noir. Capable performances from Holden and Olson, paired romantically here, as in SUNSET BOULEVARD that same year, and with a strong cast of
reliable character actors (Fitzgerald again performing exceptionally well as a policeman, as he had done in THE NAKED CITY, 1948).
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Holden's first film after SUNSET BOULEVARD was a big comedown back to the routine pictures in which he had long been appearing. Here he is the chief of the railway police at Chicago's Union Station when Olson approaches him to report on the suspicious acti… (more)