Lady on a Train (1945): Crime Noir, Starring Deanna Durbin

Charles David’s Lady on a Train, is a crime film noir, 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 from her train window. After the police dismiss her story, she turns to a popular mystery writer to help her solve the crime.

Durbin plays San Francisco debutante Nicki Collins goes to visit her aunt in New York.  Before reaching Grand Central, Nicki’s train makes a brief stop and she looks up from reading a mystery novel Wayne Morgan—and witnesses a murder in a nearby building.

In the final scene, Nicki and Wayne Morgan are newlyweds on a train. She  enjoys his latest book so much that she instructs the porter not to make up their beds, and Morgan promptly tells her how it ends.

Charles David was assigned to direct after the success of his latest film, The Faries Tale Murder.

There is good chemistry between Durbin and David Bruce, who had appeared in her last two films.

Oscar Context:

The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound.

Deanna Durbin as Nicki Collins
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
Kathleen O’Malley as Photographer


Produced and distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date: August 3, 1945
Running time: 94 minutes