Lady On A Train (1945): A Leslie Charteris Premise with a Lucille Ball Twist

Schism:His uncle was brutally slain; she wears a silly hat for detective work
A review of Lady On A Train (1945) is my newest contribution at The Amazing Deanna Durbin blog.

Deanna Durbin witnesses a murder from her train window and quickly becomes an amateur sleuth. Although the author of the adventure-mystery novel series, Saint, created the idea for the film, his  influence stops there. The script is taken over by a couple of comedy writers who had worked and would continue to work with comedienne Lucille Ball, among others. It shows.

Train tries to blend a serious murder mystery and a wacky comedy, but the two styles interrupt each other, resulting in a film with severe mood swings -a phenomenon that was not uncommon in Ms. Durbin's films at the time. Indeed, 

Deanna Durbin’s film career can be divided into three overlapping eras - the adolescent years,  from which comes the perky (and profitable) Durbin formula of youthful tenacity and pluck; the post-adolescence/struggle era, where the now-grownup star fights for mature material and sometimes wins; and the resignation years, when Universal’s movie veteran - weary over the struggle for challenging scripts - essentially gives in to whatever work  is offered.

Lady On A Train comes near the end of the post-adolescence/struggle era. During this time, there is a definite schism within some of Ms. Durbin’s films, trying ever to balance maturity and childlike vivacity, drama and screwball.

Read More at The Amazing Deanna Durbin Blog


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