Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train

Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (Bob Ellis, 1988) wr. Bob Ellis, Denny Lawrence, dp Yuri Sokol, prod. Ross Dimsey, Western Pacific Films; Wendy Hughes, Colin Friels, Norman Kaye, John Clayton, Rod Zuanic, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Steve J. Spears; 91 min.

I like Bob Ellis’s prose greatly, so it was about time I caught one of the three films he directed as well as wrote: Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (1988). It’s a pity it had to have a story* – if you know what I mean – but it’s a great part for Wendy Hughes. I wonder why he cast Chris Haywood in a part with only one line – but I guess any work, for an actor, is work. As someone said, there are no careers in acting in Australia – only a succession of jobs. [It was James Hagan who said it to me, but he may have been quoting someone else.]

The story is clearly told, and the emotional, psychological backdrop is handled with a light touch, but it provides grounding for the thriller elements. Engaging and impressively written and directed by Bob Ellis, the film has layers and complexities beneath its surface tensions. Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile.

*Yes - oh dear yes - the novel [and film] tells a story. That is the fundamental aspect without which it could not exist. That is the highest factor common to all novels, and I wish that it was not so, that it could be something different - melody, or perception of the truth, not this low atavistic form. EM Forster, Aspects of the Novel.


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