Tag Archives: RKO Radio Pictures

Oklahoma! 1955

RKO Radio Pictures
20th Century Fox

This is a train movie filmed twice! First, was in glorious CinemaScope, the Second in 70mm Todd A-O. Once they finished filming a scene in CinemaScope, they’d roll in the Todd A-O cameras and the actors would repeat their performance. What’s interesting about this process, is you get a slightly-different view of each scene. Double your pleasure, double your fun!

The star of our show is little Southern Pacific #1673, a 2-6-0 M-4 class Mogul, built by Schenectady Locomotive Works in 1900. For the movie, she was renumbered with a flamboyant #52 emblazoned on her tender with no RR reporting marks on the cab side.

As seen from this link –> Southern Pacific #1673 is still with us and on display at the Tucson, Arizona, Amtrak station.

Filming twice was fortunate as we see no front end close ups of #1673/#52 in CinemaScope, but get some great views in the Todd A-O version. More later.

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Sudden Fear 1952

RKO Radio Pictures

A cross country train trip on a through sleeping car is the highlight of today’s feature. Believe it or not, back in the 1950’s, you could ride from New York City to Chicago, then on to San Francisco (Oakland) in the same sleeping car. Other railroads also offered similar coast to coast service.

What we see on screen (and out the window) is a wonderful mish-mosh of various railroads — some that would definitely NOT be on our movie’s NYCBurlingtonD&RGWWP routing.

Myra Hudson (played by Joan Crawford) is a successful playwright whose smash hit is running on Broadway. Whilst riding the train out of New York, she spots Lester Blaine (played by Jack Palance) boarding at an intermediate stop. Myra had rather abruptly dismissed Lester from her play. Well. This might be a touch uncomfortable.

Palance turned in a wonderfully-creepy performance in this picture and Crawford… oh, those scary eyebrows. No wonder she wound up portrayed in the campy horror classic, Mommie Dearest. “Tina!! Bring me the axe!”

Anyway. It’s film noir on a train and that’s always a winner. Remember The Narrow Margin, anyone?

Can’t have a noir flick without smoke. Through the haze we see the studio’s recreation of Grand Central Terminal.

Note in the background, Track 25: Commodore Vanderbilt (Train 67) and Track 24: State of Maine Express. Myra would have taken Train 67 which carried the through 10-6 sleeper.

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