Time Table (film)

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Time Table
Time table 1956 poster small.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark Stevens
Produced by Mark Stevens
Screenplay by Aben Kandel
Story by Robert Angus
Starring Mark Stevens
King Calder
Felicia Farr
Music by Walter Scharf
Cinematography Charles Van Enger
Edited by Kenneth G. Crane
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • February 8, 1956 (1956-02-08) (United States)
Running time
79 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Time Table (also known as Timetable) is a 1956 American black-and-white crime film film noir produced and directed by Mark Stevens, who also stars as the lead character.[1]

This was one of the first film appearances by both Jack Klugman and actress Felicia Farr. She had earlier appeared (as Randy Farr) in Big House, U.S.A (1955).[2]


A physician, whose license has been revoked, poses as a practicing doctor aboard a train passing through Arizona. His presence there is part of a caper involving a fictitious patient, on whose behalf he gains access to his checked baggage, including his physician's "black bag," in the baggage car, whereupon he blows and then robs the safe. Then he arranges for both the fictitious patient, which he claims is infected with polio, a communicable disease which poses an immediate and extremely serious public health risk, and himself to leave the train, presumably departing for the closest hospital, which is also far from any scheduled train stop, the two thereby escaping with $500,000 in an ambulance. The railroad officials do not discover the robbery until the train reaches Phoenix, many hours after their escape has been effected.

In response, the insurance company puts the protagonist, Charlie Norman, on the case, forcing him to postpone his previously scheduled vacation to Mexico. Joe Armstrong, an old friend who is the investigator for the railroad, works with him. Gradually evidence starts to turn up that the thieves ditched the ambulance and escaped in a rented helicopter. The scheme was thus elaborate, showing that the robbery had been carried out according to a strict timetable.

But there was one misstep that kept it from being the perfect crime. As the investigators pursue this misstep, the intended timetable starts to unravel and the audience suddenly discovers who the secret mastermind is.

Finally, as the American and Mexican authorities begin to close in, the mastermind pulls his last clean-escape opportunity from his sleeve, only to have his well-intentioned wife pull a practical joke on him, in the process making a duplicate key to his locked attache case and substituting vacation travel magazines for his work papers only to discover that the robbery money is in his case, which she immediately returns, anonymously, to the railroad, thereby completely foiling what had started out to be "the perfect crime."



Critical response[edit]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz liked the film and wrote, "A gripping film noir about an ace insurance investigator, Charlie Norman (Mark Stevens--he also directs), who successfully plans a complicated train robbery in Arizona and ends up teamed with railroad detective Joe Armstrong (King Calder) as co-leaders of the investigation. The film's moralistic theme could be that there's no such a thing as a perfect crime, perfect marriage, or perfect job. It's a taut thriller with a fine script and acting ... This neat little suspense thriller had two noir themes going for it—the respected veteran insurance-agent-gone-wrong and the mid-life crisis of a conventional man who throws away a wife who loves him and his cozy but empty middle-class existence for a woman he lusts after. Mark Stevens, as the director, handled both themes rather well."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Timetable at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. ^ "Timetable - Detail view of movie pages". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Schwartz, Dennis, film review, Ozus' World Movie Reviews, October 9, 2002. Accessed: July 6, 2013.

External links[edit]