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Murder in the Private Car

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Director  Harry Beaumont
Story by  Edward E. Rose
Country  United States
6.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Mystery, Romance
Language  English
Murder in the Private Car movie poster

Release date  June 29, 1934 (1934-06-29) (United States)
Based on  The Rear Car  by Edward E. Rose
Writer  Ralph Spence (screen play), Edgar Allan Woolf (screen play), Al Boasberg (screen play), Edward E. Rose (from the play: "The Rear Car" by), Harvey F. Thew (adaptation)
Screenplay  Al Boasberg, Ralph Spence, Edgar Allan Woolf, Harvey F. Thew
Cast  Charles Ruggles (Scott), Una Merkel (Georgia), Mary Carlisle (Ruth), Russell Hardie (Blake), Porter Hall (Murray), Willard Robertson (Hanks)
Similar movies  Blackhat, Mad Max: Fury Road, Salt, John Wick, I Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, Taken 3

Murder in the Private Car is a 1934 American mystery romance film starring Mary Carlisle, Charles Ruggles and Una Merkel and directed by Harry Beaumont. David Townsend was the film's art director.


The film is based on the play The Rear Car by Edward E. Rose.

Plot summary

Set in Los Angeles, this is the story of switchboard operator Ruth Raymond (Mary Carlisle). She learns from her lawyer Alden Murray (Porter Hall), that she is actually the daughter of railroad tycoon Luke Carson (Berton Churchill). She had been kidnapped as a baby by Luke’s brother and partner Elwood and placed with strangers. Once it is found out that she is an heiress there is an attempt on her life by her bodyguard and chauffeur, which is foiled by Godfrey D. Scott (Charles Ruggles).

A message from her father is intercepted and replaced telling her to meet him in New York instead of Los Angeles. Ruth, Murray and her best friend Georgia Latham (Una Merkel) board the train bound for New York. The lights go out in Ruth’s car and an announcement is heard “eight hours to live,” after which Scott introduces himself to Ruth and her friends as a slueth who prevents crime. Scott reunites Ruth with her stowaway boyfriend John Blake (Russell Hardie). Then the train is suddenly stopped by the wreck of a circus train on the tracks.

After which, Murray is murdered and another announcement is made to the passengers of Ruth’s private car stating they only have five hours to live. Then an escaped gorilla attacks Ruth, Georgia and Scott and then jumps from the train. The next morning, the train stops in a small town where Ruth’s father had been tipped off to meet her. Luke Carson joins Ruth’s party in the private car. Then one by one all the windows are blackened and another announcement is made for the passengers to “say their prayers.”

Carson recognizes his brother, Elwood’s voice and identifies him. Elwood explains his reasoning for terrorizing his brother and says he has planted explosives on the private car and released it from the train so that it is now rolling downhill towards another train. Scott finds and kills Elwood and after a harrowing journey, the private car passengers are saved and transferred to another train.


  • Charles Ruggles as Godfrey D. Scott
  • Una Merkel as Georgia Latham
  • Mary Carlisle as Ruth Raymond (aka Ruth Carson)
  • Russell Hardie as John Blake
  • Porter Hall as Alden Murray
  • Willard Robertson as Hanks - Car Conductor
  • Berton Churchill as Luke Carson
  • Cliff Thompson as Mr. Allen
  • Snowflake as Titus - Car Porter
  • Harry Semels as Evil Eye (scenes deleted)
  • Ernie Adams as Taxi Driver (uncredited)
  • Hooper Atchley as Conductor on Eastbound Train (uncredited)
  • Jack Baxley as Conductor in Holton (uncredited)
  • Walter Brennan as Switchman (uncredited)
  • Raymond Brown as Bertillion Man (uncredited)
  • James P. Burtis as Switchman (uncredited)
  • Jack Cheatham as Foreman (uncredited)
  • Ray Corrigan as Naba the Gorilla (uncredited)
  • Sterling Holloway as Office Boy (uncredited)
  • Olaf Hytten as Man Asking About Radio (uncredited)
  • Wilfred Lucas as Train Conductor Thrown from Train (uncredited)
  • Matt McHugh as Policeman Stopping John (uncredited)
  • G. Raymond Nye as Detective (uncredited)
  • Lee Phelps as Policeman Carrying Ruth (uncredited)
  • Production

    The entire film was shot along the Southern Pacific's Donner Pass.


    Murder in the Private Car Wikipedia
    Murder in the Private Car IMDb Murder in the Private Car