The Midnight Express (film)

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The Midnight Express
Directed byGeorge W. Hill
Written byGeorge W. Hill
StarringElaine Hammerstein
William Haines
Distributed byC.B.C. Film Sales
Release date
  • June 1, 1924 (1924-06-01)
Running time
56 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The Midnight Express is a 1924 American silent action crime film directed by George W. Hill starring Elaine Hammerstein and William Haines.[1]


As described in a review in a film magazine,[2] after a wild jazz party, railroad owner John Oakes (Nichols) disowns his son Jack (Haines) for being shiftless. Jack decides to rehabilitate himself and turns over a new leaf by quitting his palatial home and going to work in his father's railroad yard as a laborer in the roundhouse. Chasing an escaped convict, Silent Bill Brachely (Harmon), who had stolen his auto, leads Jack to the home of James Travers (Tilton), engineer of the big locomotive, the Midnight Express. There he meets and falls in love with the engineer’s daughter, Mary (Hammerstein). The convict, who swears to get back at Jack, is sent back to jail. He escapes again and corners Jack in a lonely dispatch station on a mountainside. A terrific fight ensues and Jack wins. just in time to derail However, several freight cars have broken from the train and are speeding down a mountainous grade, heading toward the Midnight Express which is ascending the incline. Jack is able to derail the runaway freight cars just in time to save the Midnight Express. As the result Jack, gets back in his father’s good graces and wins the affections of Mary.



Haines, then under contract to Metro-Golden, was loaned to Columbia Pictures, then a small studio, for five films, of which The Midnight Express was the first. The film received good reviews, making it Haines' breakout role.[3] He received another boost when later in 1924, during a Screenland interview, flamboyant actress Peggy Hopkins Joyce claimed that the best screen kiss she ever saw was between Haines and Hammerstein in The Midnight Express.[4]


A print of The Midnight Express is in the film collection of Cineteca Italiana (Milano).[5]


  1. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Midnight Express at
  2. ^ Sewell, Charles S. (December 6, 1924). "The Midnight Express; C. B. C. Railroad Melodrama Starring Elaine Hammerstein Furnishes Exciting Entertainment". The Moving Picture World. New York City: Chalmers Publishing Co. 71 (6): 546. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  3. ^ Mann, William J. (1998). Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star. New York City: Viking. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-0670871551.
  4. ^ Mann pp. 70-71
  5. ^ Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Database: The Midnight Express

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