Westbound Limited (1937)

76 mins | Drama | 11 July 1937

Director:

Ford Beebe

Cinematographers:

Elwood Bredell, Jerome Ash

Editor:

Philip Cahn

Production Designer:

Ralph M. DeLacy

Production Company:

Universal Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was West Coast Limited . It appears in the copyright catalog as West Bound Limited . MPH release charts give a release date of 11 Jul 1937, although the film was previewed in Los Angeles 16 Aug 1937 and was not reviewed in New York until 17 Nov 1937. Jerry Ash is listed as photographer in HR production charts, although he is not listed on the film. Exteriors for this film were shot in Santa Cruz, CA, where an abandoned railroad was used. Equipment was hired from the Southern Pacific railway. J. P. McGowan, who played a freight engineer, was the director and star of a number of early silent serials and features set in the railroad ... More Less

The working title for this film was West Coast Limited . It appears in the copyright catalog as West Bound Limited . MPH release charts give a release date of 11 Jul 1937, although the film was previewed in Los Angeles 16 Aug 1937 and was not reviewed in New York until 17 Nov 1937. Jerry Ash is listed as photographer in HR production charts, although he is not listed on the film. Exteriors for this film were shot in Santa Cruz, CA, where an abandoned railroad was used. Equipment was hired from the Southern Pacific railway. J. P. McGowan, who played a freight engineer, was the director and star of a number of early silent serials and features set in the railroad milieu. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Aug 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 37
p. 7.
Variety
17 Nov 37
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
SOURCES
SONGS
"I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," music and lyrics by Thomas P. Westendorf.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
West Coast Limited
West Bound Limited
Release Date:
11 July 1937
Production Date:
began 26 April 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
1 July 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7245
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
76
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3446
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Dave Tolliver, a telegraph operator for G. R. & N. Railroad, is on the nightshift during a storm when he gets an emergency message from dispatch to sidetrack a train to avoid a collision. After setting the lever, Dave is held up by a payroll thief who emerges from a coffin in the tower. During the struggle, as the lever is switched, Dave notices a serpent and sword tattoo on the thief's forearm. Dave runs after the thief outside the tower and shoots him in the shoulder, causing him to drop the payroll bag before he disappears into the woods. The trains crash, killing twenty-seven people, and Dave is tried for criminal negligence. Because he retrieved the payroll, he has no proof he was robbed and is sentenced to five years in prison. Dave escapes on his way to the penitentiary and becomes a drifter. A few years later, he meets "Pop" Martin, a telegraph operator at the Noyo Tower, who was one of the passengers injured in the collision. Pop's daughter Janet is being bullied by nightshift operator Joe Forbes into marrying him. Dave walks in on the row while looking for work, and Janet befriends him, inviting him to board with her and Pop after kicking out Joe. Dave, still feeling sorry for himself, is about to skip town when Pop has a heart attack while on duty. Dave takes over for him under the name Bob Kirk and makes the rail workers promise not to tell the dispatcher Pop is sick, so that he can collect his pension. When Pop is ready to return to work, ... +


Dave Tolliver, a telegraph operator for G. R. & N. Railroad, is on the nightshift during a storm when he gets an emergency message from dispatch to sidetrack a train to avoid a collision. After setting the lever, Dave is held up by a payroll thief who emerges from a coffin in the tower. During the struggle, as the lever is switched, Dave notices a serpent and sword tattoo on the thief's forearm. Dave runs after the thief outside the tower and shoots him in the shoulder, causing him to drop the payroll bag before he disappears into the woods. The trains crash, killing twenty-seven people, and Dave is tried for criminal negligence. Because he retrieved the payroll, he has no proof he was robbed and is sentenced to five years in prison. Dave escapes on his way to the penitentiary and becomes a drifter. A few years later, he meets "Pop" Martin, a telegraph operator at the Noyo Tower, who was one of the passengers injured in the collision. Pop's daughter Janet is being bullied by nightshift operator Joe Forbes into marrying him. Dave walks in on the row while looking for work, and Janet befriends him, inviting him to board with her and Pop after kicking out Joe. Dave, still feeling sorry for himself, is about to skip town when Pop has a heart attack while on duty. Dave takes over for him under the name Bob Kirk and makes the rail workers promise not to tell the dispatcher Pop is sick, so that he can collect his pension. When Pop is ready to return to work, Dave decides to leave, but Pop knows he and Janet are in love and suggests he propose. Joe, angry at losing Janet to Dave, threatens to tell the dispatcher about Pop's absence unless she marries him. Pop overhears, however, and pulls a rifle on Joe, telling him Janet is already engaged. When an old friend of Dave recognizes him, Joe, overhearing him being addressed as Dave Tolliver, exposes him to the dispatch superintendent. That night, when Dave and Joe switch shifts during a storm, Dave hears an incoming message about a sheriff arriving on the Westbound Limited to arrest him. Joe pulls a gun on Dave to keep him from fleeing and they fight. Meanwhile, a runaway train heads toward Noyo Tower, threatening to crash into the Westbound Limited, and dispatch sends a message for Joe to derail the runaway. Dave finally knocks out Joe, breaking his arm, and is about to flee, but stays to fix the broken derailer. The sheriff arrives safely and thanks Dave for his sacrifice. When Joe's arm is set, Dave recognizes the thief's tattoo and accuses Joe, who is arrested. Dave and Janet then embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.