Dec 10, 2011

Lady on a train (1945): a goofy comedy thriller

Last night I was finally able to watch this film starring Deanna Durbin and David Bruce. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was entertaining and it takes place during Christmas, so it was a good pick.

In a nutshell, Deanna plays a rich Nancy Drew-ish character that witnesses a murder from a train and then she investigates by herself because William Frawley is playing a lazy cop.

First of all, to completely enjoy this film, you have to expect a lot of unlikely situations, like a girl breaking and entering in a creepy mansion, wearing a cowhide (almost literally), lots of feathers in her hat and high heels, because that's how you discreetly investigate a murder. 

If you accept things like that, then you can start enjoying the contagious good humor and goofy personality of Deanna's character; David Bruce's charm (he was handsome, reminded me a bit of Michael Redgrave), Edward Everett's usual absent minded character and Jacqueline deWit's comedy timing (she has a presence like Eve Arden's).

The movie maintains a good pace: it's never slow thanks to a script filled with many different and interesting situations (like Deanna pretending to be a club singer/heiress/chair to'll get it when you see it).

It also keeps you intrigued, trying to guess which of the suspects --Ralph Bellamy, Dan Duryea, etc-- is the criminal (although I correctly guessed at once...please, please, no applauses). 

There are a lot of funny/thrilling scenes and lines and of course three songs beautifully sung by Deanna (they are all in Youtube: Silent NightNight and Day & Give me a little kiss )

In conclusion, if you haven't seen this one and you're looking for a very light and quite funny film, I recommend this one to you. 

Here some photos from my wall:

With "Fred"

At the cinema: one of the funniest scenes.

With Ralph Bellamy.

With Edward Everett, Fred Astaire's usual best friend.

Siiiiilent Niiiight....

Have a great weekend!

PS - I'd like to know if you guys know more about director Charles David, seems that he just directed two movies in his whole life.


  1. I like your review of a movie that is fun to watch any time of year, but particularly in December.

    I think there are more Christmas trees in this one movie than in a Christmas Movie Marathon: at the police station, the author's apartment, Nikki's hotel suite, the mansion, behind the shaving man - probably even more that I'm missed.

  2. I love this movie! I discovered it a couple of years ago and had to get it out again last Christmas. I may watch it yet again this year!

    I especially love William Frawley's tiny desktop Christmas tree at the police station!

    So glad you enjoyed it too. :)

    Best wishes,

  3. Haha, William Frawley ...

    This movie looks like fun! I love her outfits.

  4. Great review of this movie! I think the life and career of Charles David might make a good topic for a blog post one day; he and Deanna lived a very private life after they were married and left the Hollywood scene.

  5. It was fun getting to know you a bit through Monty's interview. Thanks for sharing a bit of your classic movie self with us.

    I really like this movie. It's part of the 6-movie Deanna Durbin Collection, which I own. I actually quite like Dan Duryea, so he is rather the draw for me in this film.

    Have a great day,

  6. @Caftan Woman Thank you! Yeah, it was a nice Holiday comedy thriller, thanks for listing the trees, and thanks a millon for visiting my site :) Have a great weekend :)

  7. @Laura Yeah, the tiny tree was really cool, I want one for my office desk :) Thanks for the mention over your blog and thanks for stopping by, have a great weekend!

  8. @Francy Flicks It was very entertaining, try to watch it sometime! Thanks for visiting, Francy, have a great weekend!

  9. @Tom I didn't know they left their public life, cool they were able to do that, they are probably very down to earth people :) Thanks for the info Tom, have a great weekend :)

  10. @Patti Awww, thanks for reading my answers over Monty's blog!! Yeah, this film was very entertaining, I really want to check more Deanna Durbin films, I just have seen a few :) Have a great weekend, glad to see you around!



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