My interest in the Christmas-season 1945 comedy-thriller Lady on a Train
not to be confused with
the abbreviation of Strangers on a Train)
and its beloved star, singer/actress Deanna Durbin, began with our friend and
fellow classic movie blogger Michael Troutman of I Shoot the Pictures.
In December 2011, Michael had innocently let it
slip that that he wasn’t acquainted with the winsome Miss Durbin’s movies. Three
of our awesome fellow bloggers felt strongly that it was time for Michael to
become acquainted with Durbin’s work: whistlinggypsy
Distant Voices and Flickering Shadows;
of My Love of Old Hollywood
; and Jessica
of Comet Over Hollywood
. Together they,
shall we say, encouraged Michael, and the result was a delightful six-part
series of blog posts titled My Deanna Durbin Punishment
(see links at the end of this post).
I’ve always loved comedy-thrillers ranging from Bob Hope in The Ghost Breakers
and My Favorite Brunette,
to Foul Play
and so many more, so when I read Michael’s blog post about
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,
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!
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;
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
best-selling mystery author Wayne Morgan. And what a page-turner it is, as Nikki
"'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
Is there any shadow of a
doubt that Nikki saw
a rear window murder? (Note the telltale slippers!)
Yeah, outside the elevated window of another passing train, where Nikki sees two
men: an older, white-haired gent, and an apparently younger man in a hat. The
men argue, and then Hat Man pulls down the window shade, and *WHAM*,
here comes death by crowbar! Naturally, nobody
believes Nikki, especially when she’s toting The Case of the Headless Bride
to read while she’s waiting for someone to take her seriously. Nikki’s
credibility is apparently often in question since she tends to jump to
conclusions, like the time she was sure a buck-toothed gent at the Golden Gate
Bridge was in fact a Japanese spy. It’s up to our spunky, adorably sly (if
somewhat naïve) heroine to take the initiative, solve the case, and redeem
Nikki is visiting her Aunt Martha in The Big Apple for her Christmas vacation.
Her busy but loving dad in San Francisco has provided her with an Assistant in
Charge of Keeping Nikki Out of Trouble: the jittery Mr. Haskell from the New
York office. Haskell is played by one of Team Bartilucci’s favorite character
actors, the ever-delightful and effortlessly funny Edward Everett Horton, whose
long career ranged from films such as The Gay Divorcee; Here Comes Mr.
Jordan; Arsenic and Old Lace;
Morgan demonstrates the stark realistic|
storytelling that keeps thriller readers
eager for more!
and even the Fractured Fairy Tales narrator on
TV’s animated Rocky and His Friends
. Poor Mr. Haskell is always being
charmingly and hilariously bamboozled by Nikki, and/or being knocked out by no-goodniks; I hope
they pay him well! Even when poor Haskell gets a little down time, Nikki’s
still on the case, dashing around New York and environs, getting mixed up in
hairstyles and Howard Greer fashions ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous
(one of her hairstyles is a double-bun Princess Leia would have been proud to
|Mr. Haskell may feel fresh as a daisy|
after being clobbered by bad guys,
but he looks like a black-eyed susan to us!
Amateur detective Nikki attempts to contact mystery author Wayne Morgan for help, and
she gets a break when she tracks down the increasingly bewitched, bothered,
bewildered and eventually happily besotted Wayne (David Bruce from A Dispatch from
Reuters; The Sea Hawk; Sergeant York;
a bit part in The Letter;
the dark holiday noir Christmas Holiday
with Durbin). She catches him in
a movie theater where she tries to talk about the murder with Wayne, much to the
annoyance of the moviegoers—especially Wayne’s fiancée, self-centered fashion
model Joyce Williams (Patricia Morison from The Fallen Sparrow;
the 1946 Sherlock Holmes mystery Dressed to Kill;
and ironically, two films you’d think might be musicals but
weren’t: Song of the Thin Man
and the Oscar-winning The Song of
who’s trying to enjoy a newsreel of herself modeling the latest
fashions. Nikki’s persistence pays off when she sees a newsreel about the dead
man! The deceased is ship magnate Josiah Waring (Thurston Hall of The Great
Lie; Theodora Goes Wild;
and the role he’s best known for here at Team
Bartilucci H.Q.: blustery credit-stealing boss Mr. Pierce in
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
wouldn’t you know the newsreel mentions the whereabouts of The Willows, where
the Waring estate is? (Nowadays, the joint would probably be crawling with armed
guards and other kinds of security!)
you know Nikki is a master of disguise? |
Here she is as an unusually
When Nikki trespasses and finagles her way into The Willows, she arrives just in
time for the reading of Josiah Waring’s will. We find that Waring was not only a
ship magnate, but also a chick magnet when our amateur sleuth Nikki is mistaken
for nightclub entertainer Margo Martin, Waring’s beloved mistress. (I was rather
touched when we finally met the real
Margo Martin, played by Maria Palmer
from By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
In her scenes, she truly seems to
be heartbroken over Waring’s death.) Samuel S. Hinds, who played Edward G.
Robinson’s retired pal in Scarlet Street,
appears briefly as the Waring family’s lawyer in the gathering at The Willows.
Before Nikki knows it, she’s embroiled in all manner of suspense and zaniness,
with incriminating bedroom slippers and two Waring heirs making eyes at her: Arnold (Dan Duryea of
Ball of Fire, The Woman in the Window,
and Scarlet Street
in a more likable mold), and his brother Jonathan (versatile Ralph Bellamy, best
known for never getting the girl but always charming about it in comedies like
The Awful Truth
and His Girl Friday,
as well as thrillers like
not to mention Team B. fave Trading Places)
. As you
is brimming with great character actors, including Elizabeth Patterson (best
known by TV fans as babysitter Mrs. Trumbull on TV’s I Love Lucy,
also a memorable character actress in Intruder in the Dust; Hail the
Conquering Hero; Miss Tatlock’s Millions; I Married a Witch; Remember the Night,
and more) and George Coulouris (Arabesque;
Murder on the Orient Express; Citizen Kane,
appropriate considering the
|Clever Nikki sneaks onto the |
Waring estate disguised as a weather vane!
And of course, with Deanna Durbin as the star, you know music will fill the air!
The songs really do fit smoothly into the plot. My favorites among her numbers here include her soulful performance of “Silent Night” sung to her
dad—while Waring chauffeur/henchman Danny (Allen Jenkins from
Ball of Fire; The Falcon Takes Over; Pillow Talk;
TV’s animated Top Cat)
waits to strangle her, only to find himself
all teary-eyed as Nikki sings. Music soothes the savage beast—at least until
Danny knocks out Wayne and Mr. Haskell well after Nikki is safe! Then there’s
our heroine’s hot, playfully sexy rendition of “Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya,
Huh?,” sung to Wayne at The Circus Club, a theme nightclub that’s bigger than a
Hollywood soundstage (with equally big doormen, including Lock Martin, Gort from
The Day the Earth Stood Still).
I got a kick out of that dreamy look in
Wayne’s eyes! I must confess, however, that I thought Durbin’s torchy rendition
of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” could have been more torchy and less operatic;
somehow I felt like she needed to cut loose a bit more with her rendition.
Speaking of music, as a Miklos Rosza fan, I really enjoyed LoaT’s
its blend of suspenseful notes and comical touches was perfect for the film. And
I love that final scene; wonder if it’s where Alfred Hitchcock got the idea in
North by Northwest?
Born Edna Mae Durbin on December 4th
, 1921 in Canada (where my dear
hubby and Team Bartilucci computer whiz Vinnie was born), in the 1930s and ’40s,
wunderkind coloratura Durbin became to Universal what Judy Garland eventually
became to MGM: a wholesome, wildly popular singing movie star. Durbin also
proved to be a compelling actress in a Screen Guild Players radio version of
Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt
According to Margarita Landazuri’s TCM article, producer Felix Jackson married
Durbin soon after making
but they divorced in 1948. Durbin retired from movies in 1950 and moved to
France with her husband and
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?)
Part 5 of Michael Troutman’s review of Lady
on a Train from I Shoot the Pictures:
My Deanna Durbin Punishment
joint has everything, even free bagels in your hair!|
Turn around, Nikki!
a clue in the newsreel!
|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
I know we’re all economizing these days, |
but hold out for the glass slipper instead!
Swell post, Dorian! LoaT is one of my favorite Deannas too -- though truth to tell, I do tend to give preference to It Started with Eve, mainly because of her amazing comic rapport with Charles Laughton (the two of them pretty much erase Bob Cummings from the screen).ReplyDelete
But back to Lady. I'm delighted that you singled out Deanna singing "Gimme a Little Kiss, Willya, Huh?" Hot and playfully sexy, indeed. If Universal had trusted her with more grown-up moments like that, she might not have gotten fed up with Hollywood and stuck around for a while. Who knows, when MGM came calling with Kiss Me, Kate she might even have agreed to do it (instead of turning it down). Ah, what might have been...
Jim, thanks for your kind words; I'm delighted that you enjoyed my LADY ON A TRAIN post! I agree with you that Universal's skittishness about letting Deanna Durbin grow up instead of trying to keep her a virtual perpetual child undoubtedly contributed to her decision to chuck it all and retire to France. (Wonder if she and Jerry Lewis are both considered national treasures across the pond? :-)) And you're so right: how awesome it would have been if Durbin had opted to star in KISS ME, KATE after all!Delete
I haven't caught up with IT STARTED WITH EVE, but with Durbin and Charles Laughton onscreen, I'm going to keep a eye out for it on TCM and the like; thanks for the tip! After all, Laughton is not only one of Team B.'s favorite actors, but you'll recall seeing his monocled eye on the masthead of another of our blogs, IS THAT REALLY DESIRABLE? But don't be too hard on Bob Cummings; he's a steady worker, to borrow a line from REAR WINDOW :-) Thanks for the pleasure of your virtual company, Jim; we're always happy to have you drop by!
"Mr. Haskell may feel fresh as a daisy after being clobbered by bad guys, but he looks like a black-eyed susan to us!"ReplyDelete
Actually, Dorian, Mr. Haskell is really the new Dick Tracy villain: Raccoon Face.
(And how did ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL get left out of the My Deanna Durbin Punishment? Or was it agreed that THREE SMART GIRLS more than adequately fill the "Durbin As Precious Pre-Teen" quota?)
I live in hope that, one of these days, I can actually find a film you've never seen that I can comment at length on. In the meantime, another good job on introducing me to a title I've never seen (perhaps I saw LADY ON A TRAIN scheduled while in a state of late night stupor and thought it was STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. Memo to myself: if I ever become a film mogul I should consider lensing STRANGE LADIES ON A TRAIN. Or THROW LADIES OFF THE TRAIN. Or THREE WISE TRAINS. Or ONE HUNDRED TRAINS AND A GIRL).
I need more sleep.
Michael, you had me laughing out loud with Edward Everett Horton as "Raccoon Face"! You have the makings of a movie mogul! Someone is probably overhearing us talking about recycling movie ideas (a running gag here at Team B. H.Q.), and any year now, STRANGE LADIES ON A TRAIN, THROW LADIES OFF THE TRAIN, THREE WISE TRAINS, and ONE HUNDRED TRAINS AND A GIRL will all be playing at a multiplex near you! :-) As for Michael Troutman's mysterious omission of ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL, that's for him to say. Hey, Michael T., what's up with that? :-)Delete
Always delighted to have you share your zany wit and wisdom, my friend, and don't worry about finding new movies to stump me with; if the Examiner has its way, you'll soon be far more savvy about movies than I am! :-)
Dorian, this was a great read! I admit I've never heard of this movie, even though I am a Durbin fan. Will check it out!ReplyDelete
Ruth, thanks for your kind praise and for joining the LADY ON A TRAIN conversation! Being relatively new to the delights of Deanna Durbin myself, it seems to me that LoaT is the equivalent of a "gateway drug" for those of us who are now finding ourselves enjoying all things Deanna! :-)Delete
Oh my gosh those screen grabs! Haskell's black eyes are hilarious and seeing that 'Pippy Longstocking' scene again never gets old.
I'll admit that I'm not a big Durbin fan although it was fun to raz Michael and get him to watch a bushel of her films.
Perhaps I could give Durbin more of a chance if there wasn't that issue with her CONSTANTLY SINGING!!! I'm sure I'll get pummeled by her fans but they'll just have to get in line behind Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Ethel Merman and Betty Hutton fans wanting to tear me apart. Ha Ha
Your reviews are always chalk full of great trivia, perfect screen grabs and the highlight is your witty captions, take on a film.
Great stuff Dorian!
I hope you and Vinnie, the mini TB's are having a great weekend.
Page, many thanks indeed for your enthusiastic praise of my LADY ON A TRAIN post! However Michael T. himself might feel about having experienced his "My Deanna Durbin Punishment" series, for me it was worth it to discover LoaT and a new (to me at least) favorite screwball noir! Considering your own hilarious captions and screen grabs over at MY LOVE OF OLD HOLLYWOOD, I'm especially pleased that you got such a kick out of my screen grabs -- with kudos to my favorite screen-grabber and GIF guy Vinnie, of course!Delete
Yes, Miss Deanna's films sure are jam-packed with music, music, MUSIC, to the point that they're almost operettas! :-) But seriously, I suspect that Durbin's bosses at Universal really wanted her to give them their money's worth, figuring her fans wanted her amazing voice in each of her movies as much as possible. Too bad Durbin didn't get more opportunities to showcase her acting chops and her flair for comedy before she opted for retirement in Paris -- of course, a really nice place in Paris wouldn't be such a bad consolation prize (but not for me, as I don't speak French; I'm still having trouble with English! :-)).
Thanks again, my friend; always fun to have you join the conversation! All of us here at Team Bartilucci H.Q. hope that you and yours are having a great weekend, too!
Dorian, while I've seen several of Deanna's films, I have not seen this one. Hopefully, TCM will show it soon because it sounds like a lot of fun. Another delightful post!ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed my LADY ON A TRAIN post, Rick -- thanks for your kind words! If you enjoy the kind of comedy-thrillers I think of as "screwball noir," I think you'll enjoy LoaT, especially if you enjoy singing as much as laughter and suspense! :-) It would be perfect for TCM!Delete
Thanks for your kind words, Rick! If you enjoy screwball noir as well as Deanna Durbin's lovely singing voice and comic timing, I think you'll enjoy LADY ON A TRAIN; it would be a great film for TCM!Delete
Oh, Dorian, what have they done to you? Run away from Ms. Surbin--Michael did after a few films.ReplyDelete
Kim, don't panic -- much as I enjoyed LADY ON A TRAIN, I don't see myself starting any Deanna Durbin Blogathons anytime soon! :-) But if you love zany, fast-paced comedy-thrillers and you happen to enjoy Deanna Durbin's amazing singing voice as well as her flair for comedy, LoaT is great fun for those of us who like their comedy liberally seasoned with suspense.Delete
Awesome post! I must see this movie -- you really piqued my interest. I like Deanna Durbin and love a good mystery. This plot has some elements of an Agatha Christie story with Miss Marple that I loved, "4:50 from Paddington."ReplyDelete
Gilby, I was actually thinking of you and Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot after I posted my LADY ON A TRAIN review. "4:50 From Paddington" popped into my head, and I was thinking, "I bet Gilby was thinking along those lines, too." Sure enough, you were -- isn't it fun when us great minds think alike? :-)Delete
I hope you'll get a chance to see LoaT on TCM or elsewhere, Gilby, because I think you'd enjoy it as much as I did. If you're a Deanna Durbin fan with money to spare, it's also available in a special "Sweetheart Pack" DVD set! Here's the Amazon.com info:
Hmmm...must say, Dorian, I sense in some of these comments a certain level of aversion to Little Miss Fix-It With a Song, and that's a pity. Perfectly understandable -- Edna Mae herself doesn't care for most of her own pictures -- but still a pity. For what it's worth, I'd recommend: If you've seen Three Smart Girls and/or 100 Men and a Girl, you've seen Little Miss Fix-It at her best. But don't give up on Deanna until you've seen at least a handful of others: Lady on a Train and It Started with Eve, certainly, but also First Love, where Deanna pulls off an ugly-duckling-to-swan transformation as remarkable as Bette Davis's in Now Voyager (only funnier and with more songs), and the startling (and ill-titled) noir soap opera Christmas Holiday, where, age 22, she nails a dramatic performance as a woman just far enough removed from prostitution to pass the Hays Office (married to a murdering sociopath played by Gene Kelly).ReplyDelete
Jim, I certainly hope you're not saying I myself have any aversion to Deanna Durbin, for that is certainly not the case here at Team B. H.Q.! I've only become interested in the charming Miss Durbin relatively recently, but I thought she was delightful in LADY ON A TRAIN, and that has piqued my interest to explore her work further. I still don't think I'm knowledgeable enough to run a Deanna Durbin Blogathon, though! :-)Delete
All kidding aside, it's clear that Durbin had real talent as both a singer and an actress. I suspect if Universal had given her more room to spread her acting wings as she matured, she would have had an amazing career ahead of her. It's a darn shame she didn't accept the female lead in KISS ME, KATE. It's times like these that you wish you could get a time machine. We could get Deanna Durbin in KISS ME, KATE, and while we're at it, get ahold of star-crossed Team B. fave Laird Cregar and persuade him to go on a less draconian weight-loss diet so he could live to be the romantic leading man he'd always wanted to be! But I digress...thanks for defending darling Deanna, Jim -- you're a good egg!
hi there, fun post as usual-- I'm a big Deanna fan and saw this one so long ago that it'll be totally new to me on rewatch, will have to do that soon now that I've read this. Haven't seen Christmas Holiday yet tho). That Pippi getup totally reminded me of Peggy Cummins in Gun Crazy!ReplyDelete
Totally agreed on all the observations (not like they needed my agreement) on "what could've been" when you see what Deanna grew into and how pigeonholed she remained.
Let's hear it for Winterpeg! (btw I know 3 jokes about Saskatchewan, but one of them is funny only in the original Croatian. Another time).
cheers and thanks!
ps. I for one would go see 100 Trains & a Girl.
Kristina, many thanks indeed for your enthusiastic praise and witty quips on LADY ON A TRAIN! You know, I think I'd see "100 Trains and a Girl," too! :-) I should also catch up with Deanna Durbin's film noir CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY; that'd be a great double-feature with LADY ON A TRAIN, being set during Christmas week. Heck, another of my favorite holiday screwball noirs, THE THIN MAN, takes place then, too; now THERE'S a blogathon theme! :-) In fact, your comments reminded me that I must catch up with GUN CRAZY for the excellent SEVEN SHADOWS series! So many great blogs and bloggers, so little time! :-) Thanks again, my friend!ReplyDelete
Great fun here Dorian! Like you, I am a big fan of comedy thrillers, in fact, you named some of my favorites. I watched this some years ago on a second hand VHS tape I bought for a couple of bucks and it was worth the money that's for sure. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to that tape. The one time I went looking for it, I could not find it. Ahhh, another mystery! Admittedly, I am not a Deanna Durbin fan but I did enjoy her in this film as I did in CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY though I thought Mr. Kelly was miscast in that one. I do hope I can find that tape again, this is a film I want to watch again.ReplyDelete
Great post. I like Deanna Durbin, but there are still many of her films I haven't seen, and unfortunately, this is one of them. I'll be on the lookout, though.ReplyDelete
Jacqueline, I'm glad you enjoyed my LADY ON A TRAIN post; thank you kindly! I'll admit I initially sought out LoaT primarily for its comedy-thriller aspects, but it certainly gave me a taste of what else Deanna Durbin could do, given the chance. I hope you'll find a copy of LoaT to watch and enjoy in the not-too-distant future! :-)Delete
John, thanks for your kind words; I'm delighted that you're a comedy-thriller fan, too! Heck, I should have known, considering your great review of MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY! :-) Maybe LoaT can be streamed off Netflix, perhaps? As I mentioned to Gilby above, I saw a "Sweetheart Pack" of Deanna Durbin DVDs available on Amazon.com, if you're interested. We comedy-thriller fans must support each other! :-)ReplyDelete
This was a great write-up of a film I'm very fond of. I'm glad you pointed out the effective Rozsa score in this film. Rozsa scores much of it like he would a thriller, and the film is more effective because of it. Nothing more annoying when the music in a comedy/thriller stresses the comedy aspects.ReplyDelete
I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone, but my main criticism of "Lady on a Train" is, in my opinion, that she winds up at the end with the wrong guy. The other guy is much more interesting and charismatic than final choice Mr. Drippy Wet Blanket.
Being a Deanna fan, I'm going to have to read the other entries. Thanks for the links.
Kevin, thanks so much for your positive feedback on my LADY ON A TRAIN post! I'm also glad to hear you're a Miklos Rosza aficionado, too. Like you, I find it annoying when a comedy-thriller score hits the comedic parts too hard, but Rosza really nailed it! For that matter, I thought that Director of Photography Elwood "Woody" Bredell struck an excellent balance with the look of the comedy scenes and the shadowy noir elements in the suspense scenes.ReplyDelete
**** SPOILER ALERT! AVERT YOUR EYES!****
You had me laughing out loud with your witty cracks about "Mr. Drippy Wet Blanket"! While David Bruce was pleasant enough, I hear ya; I think it would have been more fun to see Deanna's Nikki get together with Dan Duryea. After all:
1.) He did a great job of being slick, charismatic, yet likable;
2.) I thought I detected a playful chemistry between Nikki and Duryea's Arnold;
3.) It would have been a cool change of pace to have Duryea on the good guys' side for once! :-)
Thanks again, Kevin, and feel free to drop by TotED and join the conversation any time!
I stumbled across this film completely by accident a couple of years ago, and Deanna has been a favorite ever since. It's such a happy blend of mystery, Christmas, and comedy. And Ralph Bellamy proving once and for all to be the creeper we always knew he was.ReplyDelete
Her films are a little hard to find, but so worth the trouble. Three Smart Girls is highly essential (Ray Milland is charming and perfect) and there are two sequels to that story...the last of which has Deanna falling in love with handsome soldier Joseph Cotten! The Amazing Mrs. Holliday and His Butler's Sister are also quite charming and delightful. It's fairly hard to go wrong with Deanna!
Thanks for reminding me that I need to rewatch this one, Auntie Dorian!
Emm, you must have some kind of telepathy, because I swear that just a little while ago, I was thinking, "Hey, I wonder how Emm is getting along? I bet she'd love Deanna Durbin movies." Once again you prove you're a gal after my own heart! :-) We're definitely in agreement about LADY ON A TRAIN and its delightful blend of comedy, suspense, charm, and of course, our Miss Durbin's charm, verve, and talent. Also, you had me laughing out loud with your quip about "Ralph Bellamy proving once and for all to be the creeper we always knew he was." Yeah, you have to beware of those quiet types who don't make a fuss when they don't get the girl! :-)Delete
On top of that, Emm, LoaT has now joined my little list of favorite Christmas-themed movies! :-) Thanks for the tip about the sequels, too! Thanks for your delightful comments, Emm -- your Auntie Dorian always has a comfy chair for you here at TotED to talk about favorite movies any time!
How do you keep track of all the excitement? I confuse so many movies--I'd have to keep a file full of voracious notes to be able to write anything like this.You have trainloads of talent. This movie sounds wonderful with all the music and the intrigue--I can tell you love intrigue and the cute little touches like bagel hairstyles and costume changes must make this quite a fun film.ReplyDelete
Eve, beaucoup thanks for your enthusiastic praise for my LADY ON A TRAIN post; your "trainloads of talent" quip put a big smile on my face! You asked me "How do you keep track of all the excitement?" The answer is: with great difficulty! :-)Delete
All kidding aside, I find the best way to keep track with my blog posts and the research involved is to only blog about movies I really love, since I primarily do it for fun! That said, blogging and writing fiction is not only fun for me, but it also keeps me disciplined and focused -- as focused as someone as easily distracted as me I am ever get, anyway! :-) I hope you get an opportunity to catch LoaT in the not-too-distant future; I think you'd enjoy it. Thanks again, Eve -- you're a sweetie!
Dorian, I'm part of the group who have never heard of this movie. I will look for it on TCM..ReplyDelete
Also, I want to thank you for your support during my heath problem. I wish I could give everyone a big hug.. Well, maybe in a couple of months. I was told I can not lift anything for 6 months. :(
Dawn, we're all so thankful that your health is improving, and we're always hoping, praying, and rooting for your to be 100% well ASAP! Maybe you're not ready for physical hugs yet, but we're all sending virtual hugs your way, dear friend!Delete
Thanks for your kind words about my LADY ON A TRAIN post, too! As the effervescent Yvette mentions below, LoaT is currently available on Netflix. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as Team B. did!
Yvette, thanks oodles for tipping me off that the Bob Hope film I'd mentioned is THE GHOST BREAKERS, not THE GHOST CHASERS! Silly me, I'm usually pretty good about getting titles right. So I'm not perfect; don't let it get around! :-) I'll correct the error ASAP!Delete
Okay, where can I see this one? It sounds like a total hoot. I LOVE the leading man even if I never knew his name. I LOVE Edward Everett Horton. Even Double D isn't too bad. I automatically am inclined to like this sort of film. Like youReplyDelete
Dorian - must be something in the DNA.
This looks like another 'What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw' (Agatha Christie) story. I love those too.
P.S. Dorian, the Bob Hope movie is called, 'The Ghost Breakers'. I know this only because it's my very favorite comedy mystery of all time. :)
Yvette, first I want to thank you ever so much for tipping me off that the Bob Hope comedy-mystery I mentioned in my LADY ON A TRAIN blog post was THE GHOST BREAKERS, not THE GHOST CHASERS! *D-OH!* Silly me, how'd I mix those up? I'll correct my typo as soon as I finish writing this; much obliged for the correction! THE GHOST BREAKERS is another film I keep wanting to see from start to finish, but somehow I always come in the middle, if at all. I must fix that soon! :-)Delete
Interestingly, I was watching MURDER, SHE SAID on TCM this morning. It's like that classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercial, kinda: "You got your Agatha Christie mystery in my screwball comedy!" "Well, you got your screwball comedy in my Agatha Christie mystery" -- they're clearly two great tastes that taste great together! :-)
Okay, found it on Netflex. Moved it to numero uno. Case closed.ReplyDelete
Hooray, LADY ON A TRAIN is now available on Netflix! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did! Thanks, Yvette, for being a great friend as well as having swell taste in comedy-thrillers! :-)Delete
For those interested in checking it out, ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL is scheduled to be shown on TCM tonight, Monday, May 14th at 11:30 pm EST. It's Deanna Durbin's second film, and one of her most fondly remembered. In fact, the late British film historian David Shipman said about it:ReplyDelete
"Of the many films in which Deanna Durbin appeared, the one most fondly remembered is ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL (1937). That a fifteen year-old child should have had such a clarity in singing and masterly musicianship is remarkable, but combined with a similar instinct for acting is nothing short of miraculous."
Mark, thanks a million for passing along the news of ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL tonight on TCM! Now I can see it for myself! Hey, fellow Deanna Durbin fans, set your DVRs for 11:30 p.m. EST tonight! Tell your classic movie-loving friends!Delete
You're welcome, Dorian. I hope you (and anyone else who checks it out) enjoys it. It's a really charming film, and the first Hollywood film to successfully present classical (symphonic) music in a popular vein. A huge critical and financial success at the time, it received a "Best Picture" Oscar nomination and (I think) won for "Best Musical Score."ReplyDelete
Deanna was Prime Minister Winston Churchill's favorite movie star, and according to novelist Eric Ambler, Churchill used to run ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL in his private study to celebrate British victories during World War II.
PS LADY ON A TRAIN is great, too, and I agree 100% with your praise for Miklos Rosza's excellent background score, which expertly blends suspense and humor without overdoing either element, and Woody Bredell's top-notch cinematography, as outstanding as any I've seen in any noir or film, for that matter.)
Churchill was right. Deanna D. was indeed "a remarkable talent!"
Her films aren't often shown on TCM, so check this one out while you have the chance!
Mark, thanks for all the great background info about 100 MEN AND A GIRL. Now I'm even more interested in giving it my undivided attention (already got my DVR all set)! I've got a bunch of deadlines this week, but barring any technical difficulties, I'll definitely record 100 MEN AND A GIRL, and then watch it by the coming weekend, and let you know what I thought of it. I'm also delighted that you're a fan of LADY ON A TRAIN as well; it's already become one of my favorite comedy-thrillers, as well as another favorite offbeat Christmas movie! :-)Delete
It's May 1st, 2013, and I'm sad to say that Deanna has died in Paris, where she lived for many years. At least the talented and winsome Ms. Durbin had an overall remarkable life of fame, and reportedly led a happy, calm life until her death earlier today at the age of 91, bless her. I guess she's the new coloratura in the Heavenly Choir; R.I.P., Deanna, and thanks for the joy you gave so many of us!!ReplyDelete