The Time For Killing
(ITC Movie title "Murder On The Midnight Express")
Original UK transmission: 18th January 1975
Original US transmission: 7th January 1975
WRITTEN BY: Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: John Cooper
PRODUCED BY: John Cooper
MAIN CAST: Judy Geeson (Helen Marlow), Charles Gray (Hilary Vance), Jim Smilie (Bob Malory), Jeffry Wickham (Parker), Edward Burnham (The Minister), Anthony Nash (General), Jackie Piper (Bride), Duncan Preston (Groom), Milos Kirek (Ivan Malov), Alister Williams (Barkly), Robert MacLeod (Henry Marlow)
The camera pans across a busy urban street, and closes in on the upstairs window of a large house. Inside, a group of Secret Service agents await the arrival of a Russian defector whom they have never seen. Outside, the man in question pulls up in a car but is immediately shot at by a spy disguised as a road worker. As he speeds off again, the would-be assassin fires repeatedly at the car...he fails in his task, but then turns to a hidden wireless phone and dials.
A young woman mourning the sudden loss of her lover becomes embroiled in the world of espionage when she discovers a dead body on the overnight train she is taking. No sooner has she reported the body missing than the man she thought murdered is found to be still alive, and Helen is left pondering her own sanity. An Australian, Bob, seems to want to believe her story, but remains sceptical until Helen once again spots the body in a compartment. The two then pair up to try and determine who the murderer of the man was and, more importantly, why someone is now impersonating him.
A tribute to the novel Murder On The Orient Express (as the movie title made plain), with a couple of Agatha Christie-type characters thrown in to boot. Charles Grey as the incredibly sarcastic (but amusing) Hillary Vance steals the show for the most part, especially during those moments when he turns his savage wit against the hapless steward. Judy Geeson fulfils the role of the troubled Helen well and Australian Bob Smilie makes the character of Bob Mallory a very likeable fellow. The central premise of this story was filched almost wholesale by the makers of the Gene Wilder comedy The Silver Streak a few years later.
TV TIMES CLIPPINGS
Original TV Times interview with Judy Geeson