I’ve always loved comedy-thrillers ranging from Bob Hope in The Ghost Breakers and My Favorite Brunette, to Charade, to Foul Play and so many more, so when I read Michael’s blog post about LoaT, I couldn’t resist tracking it down, and I’m glad I did, because it was great fun! So I thank Michael—and by extension, whistlinggypsy, Page, and Jessica—for helping me discover another comedy-thriller to add to my collection. I’m delighted to say it was well worth seeing—again and again, at that!
heroine Nikki Collins, Deanna Durbin
has great pipes and great gams!
LoaT’s script was based on a story by Leslie Charteris of The Saint fame, with a screenplay by Edmund Beloin (My Favorite Brunette; My Favorite Spy; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Great Lover; Donovan’s Reef) and Robert O’Brien (By the Light of the Silvery Moon; Fancy Pants; The Lemon Drop Kid; and many TV series, including The Red Skelton Hour; Here’s Lucy; and The Lucy Show). That’s a fairly long way from the classic 1936 short “Every Sunday” that put both Durbin and Judy Garland on the map (more about that here, at the TCM Web site)! By 1945, the young girl with the amazingly mature, operatic coloratura singing voice had blossomed into a lovely young woman. To this reader, Durbin proved to have legs in every sense of the term, showcasing her gorgeous gams and her flair for fast-talking comedy in the opening scene on the titular train, where we meet Durbin’s character, San Francisco debutante Nikki Collins. While Nikki waits for her cross-country train to stop at New York City’s Grand Central Station (yay, another comedy-suspense movie set in my hometown!), she’s devouring another page of the juicy mystery novel she’s been reading, The Case of the Headless Bride by best-selling mystery author Wayne Morgan. And what a page-turner it is, as Nikki reads aloud:
"'I killed him. I had to kill him. I thought I’d be safe.’ Over and over, the words droned through her mind. And yet, with a cold, horrible certainty, she knew that death was outside….”
Is there any shadow of a
doubt that Nikki saw
Morgan demonstrates the stark realistic
storytelling that keeps thriller readers eager for more!
|Mr. Haskell may feel fresh as a daisy
after being clobbered by bad guys,
but he looks like a black-eyed susan to us!
you know Nikki is a master of disguise?
Here she is as an unusually
pensive Pippi Longstocking!
|Clever Nikki sneaks onto the
Waring estate disguised as a weather vane!
According to Margarita Landazuri’s TCM article, producer Felix Jackson married Durbin soon after making LoaT, but they divorced in 1948. Durbin retired from movies in 1950 and moved to France with her husband and LoaT director Charles David, who’d also been the production manager on La Chienne, remade in the U.S. as Scarlet Street. Durbin and David reportedly lived happily together until David’s death in 1999 at 92. As of this writing, Durbin is still alive and well and, by her own choice, happily out of the spotlight. Update: She died in her adopted country, France, on April 20th, 2013 at the age of 91.
baby, hurry down the chimney tonight!
(And bring me a blackjack in case of unexpected visitors, OK?)
Wanna follow Michael Troutman's My Deanna Durbin Punishment series? Here are the links!
Part 1 of Michael
Troutman’s My Deanna Durbin Punishment
Part 2 of Michael Troutman’s My Deanna
Durbin Punishment: First Love:
Part 3 of Michael
Troutman’s My Deanna Durbin Punishment:
It Started with Eve
Part 4 of Michael Troutman’s My Deanna Durbin Punishment: Can’t Help Singing http://ishootthepictures.com/2012/01/27/my-deanna-durbin-punishment-part-iv-cant-help-singing-1944-not-recommended/
Part 5 of Michael Troutman’s review of Lady on a Train from I Shoot the Pictures: My Deanna Durbin Punishment
Part 6 of Michael Troutman’s My Deanna Durbin Punishment:http://ishootthepictures.com/2012/02/17/my-deanna-durbin-punishment-part-vi-something-in-the-wind-1947-approach-with-caution/
|This joint has everything, even free bagels in your hair!
Turn around, Nikki!
|This time master-of-disguise Nikki goes undercover
as the chair-woman of the board!
and Nikki don’t care what people say about them
as long as their names are spelled right!
I know we’re all economizing these days,
but hold out for the glass slipper instead!