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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Danger Lights (1930)



Reviews and Comments

Here's an obscure little gem of a movie. It's a comedy-drama set in the railroad scene of 1930 and includes some priceless footage that is both exciting and historically significant. Some of the highlights include a tug-of-war between steam engines, a 100 MPH race to Chicago, and what is believed to be the only film footage of a dynamometer.

The movie also contains a fantastic performance by the lead, dog-faced Louis Wolheim, not at all the typical leading man. A more formulaic movie would relegate such a character to a supporting role to leave room for the more bland romantic leads, but Wolheim's grisly rail manager, a hero for how spectacularly he takes care of not just the railroad but the people who run it, is appropriately given the spotlight. It rounds out an intriguing picture of the times.

The plot is fairly ordinary, and the other performances are stiff, but no matter. The movie's strengths are enough to keep it engaging.