DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
WARM NIGHTS ON A SLOW MOVING TRAIN (director/writer: Bob Ellis; screenwriter: Denny Lawrence; cinematographer: Yuri Sokol; editor: Tim Lewis; music: Peter Sullivan; cast: Wendy Hughes (Girl), Lewis Fitz-Gerald (Brian), Norman Kaye (Saleasman), Colin Friels (Man), John Clayton (Football Coach), Rod Zuanic (Young Soldier), Chris Haywood (Stationmaster), Grant Tilly (Politician), Peter Whitford (Steward), Steven J. Spears (Singer), Peter Sullivan (Piano-playing steward); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Patric Juillet/Ross Dimsey; Prism Entertainment Corporation; 1988-Australia)

 
"It works as a showcase for Hughes, who gets a chance to show off her acting chops."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

There's a lot of action going down on the weekend night express train run from Melbourne to Sydney, as a regular daytime weekday Catholic girls' school art teacher (Wendy Hughes) moonlights by turning tricks on the train and being the woman her client desires by changing costumes, personalities and identities to please each trick. The foxy lady operates with her own set of rules: the men must exit her cabin by 3am and no romance the next morning. We will later learn that the teach turns tricks to get the needed funds to pay for the morphine used by her addicted wheel-chair bound brother Brian (Lewis Fitz-Gerald), a once promising athlete whose career was damaged by an accident. Things pick up steam when one of the passengers (Colin Friels) has an alternate reason for seeing the prostitute with the heart of gold: he wants to use her for a political assassination of an evil politician. Her dilemma is that the money offered for the job would solve her financial problems.

It works as a showcase for Hughes, who gets a chance to show off her acting chops; but as a whole the film doesn't work, as the long train ride of a pic becomes tedious. It only works in parts (like showing Hughes relating her hooker talents to a despondent salesman played by Norman Kaye and to the disillusioned football coach played by John Clayton).

Bob Ellis ("The Nostradamus Kid") directs this fine cast, and keeps the episodic tale from derailing--which is quite an accomplishment. The screenplay by Ellis and Denny Lawrence, though well written, has a moral story that defies belief, a moral dilemma that seems forced and is further undermined by the political contrivances. One can also quibble that Hughes took the sexy role with the stipulation she does not show flesh, which got the ire of Ellis and also perhaps of some of the male viewers.

REVIEWED ON 10/18/2010       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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