6.9/10
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Lady on a Train (1945)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery | 17 August 1945 (USA)
In New York, a woman who partially witnesses a killing from a train window seeks the aid of a crime novelist to solve the murder.

Director:

Charles David

Writers:

Edmund Beloin (screenplay), Robert O'Brien (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Deanna Durbin ... Nikki Collins
Ralph Bellamy ... Jonathan Waring
Edward Everett Horton ... Mr. Haskell
Allen Jenkins ... Danny
David Bruce ... Wayne Morgan
George Coulouris ... Mr. Saunders
Patricia Morison ... Joyce Willams
Dan Duryea ... Arnold Waring
Maria Palmer ... Margo Martin
Elizabeth Patterson ... Aunt Charlotte Waring
Samuel S. Hinds ... Mr. Wiggam
William Frawley ... Police Sergeant Christie
Jacqueline deWit ... Miss Fletcher (as Jacqueline de Wit)
Thurston Hall ... Josiah Waring
Ben Carter ... Maxwell
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Storyline

While in a train halted at a station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder committed in a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy since there's no body. She then enlists a popular mystery writer to help with her sleuthing. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Deanna...on a man (oh what a man) hunt! (One-sheet poster).


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La dama del tren See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Last film for Ralph Bellamy for ten years until The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955). See more »

Goofs

There are dramatic changes in weather in this movie, which takes place during the holiday season. In the opening scene, there is snow, but then when Nikki is at the railroad yard in a scene shortly afterward, the snow is all gone and she's not even wearing a coat. In a scene which presumably is later that evening at a mansion on Long Island, there are several inches of snow on the ground again. See more »

Connections

Edited into Christmas Hymns (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Night and Day
by Cole Porter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Wonderful Deanna Durbin
20 December 2005 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

The 1930s and 40s had some lovely actresses. But few of them could compare to the dazzling Deanna Durbin. With her sparkling eyes, her wholesome smile, her beautifully blonde hair, and her charming personality, Durbin outshines everyone else in this film by far, and lifts a drab story to the level of enjoyment. She plays Nikki Collins, a smart young woman, the "Lady", in Charles David's "Lady On A Train", who, from her train compartment, witnesses an unlikely murder in a nearby building.

Technically, the film is a whodunit. But, from the beginning, viewers understand that the story is a spoof, not to be taken seriously. Playing amateur detective, Nikki races around amid various characters and comic situations, attempting to find the killer. But she's just too lucky and too clever for the plot to be considered credible.

The setting is New York City on Christmas Eve, with snow falling. As a result, the film has a soft, soothing feel to it, despite the criminal component. The film's humor is what I would describe as old-style. For example, one sequence has Nikki trying to get the attention of a mystery writer, while the writer and his girlfriend sit in a crowded theater. Nikki moves in and out of rows, disrupting the audience, with predictable humorous consequences.

In the film, Durbin sings a couple of songs, and thereby interrupts the film's flow. But, in one case, the interruption is justified, as it becomes, for me, the highlight of the entire film. Into a telephone, she sings two full verses of "Silent Night". With her magically radiant face and her beautiful singing voice, she exalts the already beautiful Christmas carol to resplendent melodic purity. This sequence is almost hypnotic in its simple beauty, and alone redeems the film from its many flaws.

Usually, I don't care for films that exist seemingly just to advance the career of the film's star. However, "Lady On A Train" is an exception. The story is not very interesting, the gags are tiresome, and the acting is average. But, through sheer force of her charming personality, Deanna Durbin alone makes this film worth watching.


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