The Silk Express

The Silk Express is a 1933 American pre-Code drama film directed by Ray Enright and written by Houston Branch and Ben Markson. The film, starring Neil Hamilton, Sheila Terry, Arthur Byron, Guy Kibbee, Dudley Digges and Arthur Hohl, was released by Warner Bros. on June 10, 1933.[1]

The Silk Express
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRay Enright
Produced byHenry Blanke
Screenplay byHouston Branch
Ben Markson
Story byHouston Branch
StarringNeil Hamilton
Sheila Terry
Arthur Byron
Guy Kibbee
Dudley Digges
Arthur Hohl
Music byBernhard Kaun
CinematographyTony Gaudio
Edited byRalph Dawson
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • June 10, 1933 (1933-06-10)
Running time
61 minutes
CountryUnited States


Donald Kilgore is determined to take a shipment of silk from Seattle to New York City by rail to break a monopoly set up by gangster Wallace Myton. Also aboard the train are Professor Axel Nyberg and his daughter Paula. He is paralyzed (except for the use of his eyes) and needs an operation in New York urgently to save his life. Myton has agents planted on the train to make sure the silk does not arrive in time.

When Kilgore's secretary is found murdered in a sealed railroad car, Detective McDuff sees a chance to finally make a name for himself and insists the train remain where it is until he solves the crime. Kilgore, however, has him knocked out, and the train proceeds at a record-setting pace. Then Clark, the conductor, is also killed. Professor Nyberg has seen something and knows who the killer is; he is finally able, by blinking once for "no" and twice for "yes", to let the others know. Before he can reveal the murderer's identity, the train enters a tunnel. In the darkness, the criminal tries to silence him, but Kilgore spots some movement in the unlit compartment and saves the professor's life. The killer and his accomplice draw their guns, but "tramp" Rusty Griffith turns out to be a Lloyd's of London undercover investigator and bluffs them into surrendering their weapons. The train arrives at its destination in time.



Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times said, "Ray Enright, the director, has done exceedingly well by this production. It is neatly measured and nicely balanced. The players live up to their reputations, particularly Mr. Kibbee, Mr. Digges, Mr. Hohl, Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Hamilton. Miss Terry does well enough as Paula and Mr. Byron makes the most of the rĂ´le of the train conductor."[2]


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