Time Bomb (1953 film)

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Time Bomb
Terror on a Train
Time Bomb FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Ted Tetzlaff
Written byKem Bennett
Produced byRichard Goldstone
Starring Glenn Ford
Anne Vernon
Maurice Denham
Cinematography Freddie Young
Edited by Frank Clarke
Robert Watts
Music by John Addison
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • 5 February 1953 (1953-02-05)(London)
  • 14 July 1953 (1953-07-14)(US)
Running time
73 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$975,000 [1]
Box office$746,000 [1]

Time Bomb is a 1953 British film noir thriller film directed by Ted Tetzlaff and starring Glenn Ford, Anne Vernon and Maurice Denham. [2] It was produced by MGM at the company's Elstree Studios with sets designed by the art director Alfred Junge. In the United States it was released under the title Terror on a Train. [3]



In Birmingham Railway Police Constable Charles Baron (John Horsley) is involved in a confrontation with a man believed to be a local vagrant. The man gets away, but he has left a suitcase full of detonators and bomb-making components at the railway yard. The police realise that he was attempting to sabotage a trainload of sea mines destined for the Royal Navy Yard at Portsmouth. The train is stopped and the police evacuate local residents.

The Railway Police security chief Jim Warrilow (Maurice Denham) visits Major Peter Lyncort (Glenn Ford), who was engaged in bomb disposal with the Royal Canadian Engineers during the Second World War, but is now living in Birmingham. He agrees to help. His French wife, Janine (Anne Vernon), is not present, having left him after a row.

Lyncort, assisted by Warilow, opens the sea mines on the train one by one, finds an explosive charge and disarms it.

Meanwhile Constable Baron drives to the railway station in Portsmouth, recognises the suspect (Victor Maddern) and arrests him. They return to Birmingham by Royal Navy helicopter. Lyncort tells the man that the bomb has been disarmed, but the man reveals that there is a second bomb and that it is due to go off at any moment. It has a chemical fuse whose timing may be somewhat inaccurate.

Janine, unaware of all this, fears that Lyncort has been in an accident and telephones local hospitals. She arrives at the station just as her husband finds the second bomb. He throws it away and it explodes harmlessly. They walk away, holding each other close.



According to MGM records the film earned $346,000 in the US and Canada and $400,000 elsewhere, resulting in a loss of $517,000. [1]

In their survey of British B movies, Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane describe Time Bomb as "a slickly made suspense thriller with a twist in the tail" that "pointed the direction for British second features over the next decade": "Its compact story, clear narrative trajectory, convincing location work and engaging central performance augmented with entertaining character studies, all provided a template for smaller British production outfits looking to give their films some international appeal." [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. "Time Bomb". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  3. "Terror on a Train (1953) - Ted Tetzlaff - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  4. Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 49.