Lady on a Train (1945)

Genres - Comedy, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Whodunit  |   Release Date - Aug 3, 1945 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Lady on a Train is an uncomfortable ménage a trois between screwball comedy, murder mystery, and musical. By trying to be all three things, it ends up satisfying as none. Fans of star Deanna Durbin will probably like it more than others, as it gives the singer a chance to show off those formidable pipes on three occasions, and indeed these moments are the finest in the film. This is especially true of her "Silent Night," which is quite lovely. Unfortunately, it doesn't belong in this film; it's a nice side trip, but it just ends up making the journey that much longer. When she's not singing in Train, Durbin is a little at sea. Director Charles David doesn't protect his star, doesn't give her the guidance she needs to overcome the very lame material she is given. As a result, Durbin doesn't sparkle, which affects the film as a whole. David's direction overall is poor, unable to do anything with the warring genres or to make the leaden dialogue come to life. The plotting is convoluted and unconvincing, and there are some stereotypes that will be offensive to modern viewers. The supporting cast is decent, but Train is not a ride worth taking.