Lady on a Train
|Lady on a Train|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Charles David|
|Produced by||Felix Jackson|
|Story by||Leslie Charteris|
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Editing by||Ted J. Kent|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||94 minutes|
Lady on a Train is a 1945 American comedy film noir directed by Charles David and starring Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, and David Bruce. Based on a story by Leslie Charteris, the film is about a woman who witnesses a murder in a nearby building from her train window. After she reports the murder to the police, who quickly dismiss her story, she turns to a popular mystery writer to help her solve the crime. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.
Debutante Nikki Collins, an enthusiastic reader of detective stories, witnesses a murder in a building while passing by on a train entering New York's Grand Central Station. She goes to the police, but is frustrated to find that no one believes her. The police think that her story is the product of an overactive imagination.
Undaunted, Nikki approaches mystery writer Wayne Morgan (David Bruce) to help her solve the mystery. She identifies the murdered man as Josiah Waring, a ruthless millionaire businessman, after seeing him on a cinema screen. She is then mistaken by the 'grieving' family (who all hated him) as Margo Martin, a nightclub singer and his fiancee, who stands to inherit the bulk of his fortune.
But the real Margo is murdered and Nikki must stay one step ahead of two disinherited cousins out to kill her.
- Deanna Durbin as Nikki Collins / Margo Martin
- Ralph Bellamy as Jonathan Waring
- David Bruce as Wayne Morgan
- George Coulouris as Mr. Saunders, Circus Club Manager
- Allen Jenkins as Danny
- Dan Duryea as Arnold Waring
- Edward Everett Horton as Mr. Haskell
- Jacqueline deWit as Miss Fletcher
- Patricia Morison as Joyce Williams
- Elizabeth Patterson as Aunt Charlotte Waring
- Maria Palmer as Margo Martin
- Samuel S. Hinds as Mr. Wiggam
- William Frawley as Desk Sgt. Brennan
- "Silent Night" (Joseph Mohr, Franz Gruber, John Freeman Young)
- "Give Me a Little Kiss" (Roy Turk, Jack Smith, Maceo Pinkard)
- "Night and Day" (Cole Porter)
In 1957, Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington was published, using a story markedly similar to that of Lady on a Train. In 1990, Charteris's story was adapted for the pilot episode of the television series Over My Dead Body.
The scenario of a lady witnessing a murder from a train was used as the basis for the Return of the Saint episode "Signal Stop"—the character of Simon Templar having been created by Lady on a Train writer Leslie Charteris. The executive producer of Return of the Saint, Robert S Baker, said that Leslie Charteris was surprised on reading the "Signal Stop" script, noting its similarity with Lady on a Train. It is not known whether "Signal Stop" writer John Kruse had seen the film prior to writing the episode.
Awards and nominations
- "Lady on a Train (1945)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- Robert S Baker revealed Charteris' surprise with the Signal Stop script in the DVD commentary of the episode.
- "The 18th Academy Awards (1946) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-16.