Lady on a Train

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Lady on a Train
Lady on a Train 1945 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Charles David
Produced by Felix Jackson
Screenplay by
  • Edmund Beloin
  • Robert O'Brien
Story by Leslie Charteris
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography Woody Bredell
Edited by Ted J. Kent
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 3, 1945 (1945-08-03) (USA)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Lady on a Train is a 1945 American comedic crime film 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.[1] The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.[1]


Debutante Nikki Collins, an enthusiastic reader of detective stories, witnesses a murder through a building window 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 discovers the murdered man is Josiah Waring, a ruthless millionaire businessman, after seeing him in a newsreel story on a cinema screen. She is then mistaken by the 'grieving' family (who all hated him) as Margo Martin, a nightclub singer and Waring's 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.





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.[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Lady on a Train (1945)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ Robert S Baker revealed Charteris' surprise with the Signal Stop script in the DVD commentary of the episode.
  3. ^ "The 18th Academy Awards (1946) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-08-16. 

External links[edit]