Lady on a Train 1945.

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JWG
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Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by JWG »

Spoiler Alert!


A comedy-thriller starring Deanna Durbin,the main plot,from a story by Leslie Charteris,is rather similar to Agatha Christie's 1957 novel 4:50 from Paddington.
Re-watching it over the last few days has given me the chance to not only marvel at the odd way that time works in the film-the hero can respond to a telephone call for help from across town by getting from his pad to the lady's hotel room,in his coat,in two and a half minutes.DD then reciprocates by changing her outfit and hairstyle in under thirty seconds-but also enjoy the bits that have me thinking of Father Dear Father...
Deanna's love-interest is a thriller-writer.We first meet him when he's dictating his new best-seller to his secretary,while scrabbling around working out plot details.Unmarried,he has a servant.Much of the action takes place in the lounge,dominated by almost life-size Baroque statues,the figures black,with white costumes. Intermittently,characters worry about 'H.G.' (Deanna's father).
Weirdly,passing reference is made to one of the possible killers having been sexually molested as a child by his aunt.

I do like watching not-very-well-known films...

Mark
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Mark »

Also not dis-similar to the set up in the TV series "Wilde Alliance".

Sound like an enjoyable film, might have to give it a go.
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JWG
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Mark wrote:Also not dis-similar to the set up in the TV series "Wilde Alliance".

Sound like an enjoyable film, might have to give it a go.
Funnily enough,Wikipedia says:
In 1957, Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington was published, using a story markedly similar to that of Lady on a Train. In 1990, Charteris's story was adapted for the pilot episode of the television series Over My Dead Body.

The scenario of a lady witnessing a murder from a train was used as the basis for the Return of the Saint episode "Signal Stop"—the character of Simon Templar having been created by Lady on a Train writer Leslie Charteris. The executive producer of Return of the Saint, Robert S Baker, said that Leslie Charteris was surprised on reading the "Signal Stop" script, noting its similarity with Lady on a Train. It is not known whether "Signal Stop" writer John Kruse had seen the film prior to writing the episode.


OMDB starred Edward Woodward.All that IMDB give for the pilot's plot is:

A former Scotland Yard inspector now living in LA is pestered by a fan to investigate a murder she claims has occurred but that the police dismiss as there is no evidence of the crime.

While IMDB reviewers can't decide whether Lady on a Train is Screwball Comedy or Film Noir,it's fun to hear Silent Night (the film's set at Christmas) described as "a romantic ballad".

On Youtube dubbed into Russian,overlaid on the original soundtrack! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fagBpi ... UY-84j4GiZ

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Nick Cooper 625
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

The idea of a putative murder being witness from a moving train - in this case the London Underground - was used in A Window in London in 1940, which was itself an a remake of the 1939 French film Métropolitain, obviously utilising the Paris Métro.
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:The idea of a putative murder being witness from a moving train - in this case the London Underground - was used in A Window in London in 1940, which was itself an a remake of the 1939 French film Métropolitain, obviously utilising the Paris Métro.
I suspect that the first recorded case was witnessed from a moving goat.
As Poe (?) said somewhere,there are only so many (seven?) plots,and it's the tweaks one puts on each that makes it interesting.I actually enjoy Murder She Wrote,though I believe it takes rather a lot of liberties with the novel.It seems far more likely that the Return of the Saint author was inspired by Christie,book or film than by Lady on a Train.I musts see where,or if the Charteris story was published.

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ian Dickerson »

The book, written by Leslie, was published by the Shaw Press on Sept. 10th 1945.

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Thanks,Ian.The book's described as "a novelisation" here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_w ... _Charteris I wonder if the story/idea saw print before it was filmed?
Besides the original story by Charteris (who wrote a paperback novelization of the film's screenplay for simultaneous release with the picture), key elements of Lady on a Train come from a 1940 British film called Lady in Distress, in which the person who witnesses murder from the inside a train is male. It's noted here: http://www.noiroftheweek.com/ that "Besides the original story by Charteris (who wrote a paperback novelization of the film's screenplay for simultaneous release with the picture), key elements of Lady on a Train come from a 1940 British film called Lady in Distress, in which the person who witnesses murder from the inside a train is male.".

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ian Dickerson »

Film was released 17th August that year.

Charteris was fired from the film after a year in development, hence the final script by Beloin & O'Brien. But in his initial contract he kept the book rights, hence the publication.

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Bob Richardson
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Wasn't Charteris notorious for being a lazy, bigoted recluse who commissioned ghost writers to churn out much of his ouvre? Do we know exactly how much he wrote himself, and how much was turned out by his "team"?
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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I know that he was quite open,in his forwards,about the TV Saint running out of Charteris' stories.I think he wrote that his role in the spin-off books based on those stories was confined to checking that ST was consistent as a character?

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ross »

Bob Richardson wrote:Wasn't Charteris notorious for being a lazy, bigoted recluse who commissioned ghost writers to churn out much of his ouvre? Do we know exactly how much he wrote himself, and how much was turned out by his "team"?
I've no idea if Charteris was a bigot or a recluse, but I beleve he stopped writing the Saint books around 1963 with The Saint in the Sun. After that, any Saint book was by a ghost writer.

Hopefully Ian Dickerson can clarify this.

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Bob Richardson
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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I was paraphrasing Bill Bryson's assessment of Charteris in his last book, "The Road to Little Dribbling".
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Ross
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ross »

Ooh, I've got that book on my 'to read' pile. I'll give it a look.

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Ross wrote:Ooh, I've got that book on my 'to read' pile. I'll give it a look.
Page 80. Enjoy.
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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I' grimace a bit when I see one of BB's books after reading that we were both a 'Small Island' and were rotten to immigrants,given that we had plenty of room.
From memory...it's in the intros to the TV spin-offs that Charteris remarks that they'd run out of his original stories.It would have been difficult for him to have passed of the scripts as his own,of course,though I suppose he could have claimed to have written the print versions.
That digest format novelisation of Lady on a Train is pretty damned expensive,though I don't doubt that it's very rare.

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ian Dickerson »

I'm well aware of Bill Bryson's comments and I've never really bothered to respond to them because quite frankly, life is too short.... But in summary:

Reclusive?
Erm no. Or at least it's a very strange recluse who would make weekly visits up to London where he would visit publishers and friends, entertain people over some very nice lunches and generally walk around the city, revisiting places he knew years before. And when he wasn't in London he was never shy about entertaining friends at home or in local restaurants. Like I said, a very strange recluse.

Bigoted?
Well my initial response to this would probably result in this post not making it through any profanity filters this board may have. But Leslie suffered from racism quite badly in his formative years, and that affected him for the rest of his life. There are some passages in his work that suggest bigotry but I believe they are a result of the time in which the story was written rather than any personal issues. Certainly by the time I knew him he was accepting of folk whose beliefs or opinions differed to his.

As for the other writers, well with the exception of Harry Harrison who did not want any credit for Vendetta for the Saint when it was published, he was perfectly happy to credit his collaborators.

Ian

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Ross
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ross »

If it's on page eighty then it must be the hardback and not the paperback I have, so I'll have to wait to read the book to see Bryson's comments.

I'm always wary of people of yesteryear being called bigots as one era's normality can be a later era's bigotry. At the moment, the idea that the sexes are male and female is being classed as bigotry by the sort of leftist loons that usually get their way. So soon authors from, say, the Noughties could be dubbed bigots for being "binary" about sex. Who'd have seen that coming?

Judging the past by current standards is a fool's errand. And Bryson, a great writer for the most part, has his moments of virtue signalling twattery.

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Although I generally enjoy Bryson's writing I do find some of his recurring criticisms extremely annoying. He does appear to have some kind of vendetta against those who work in the service industries, regularly having a go at stupid shop assistants/waiters/taxi drivers etc, who all seem to misunderstand him or fail to live up to his required levels of performance.
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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If it works,the BB passage is here: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Kg_ ... is&f=false

The Saint Club,which got a mention in most of the books,is still around:
Leslie Charteris founded The Saint Club in 1936 and it is still going strong more than seventy years later. Simon Templar is, of course, the President of the Club, with Leslie Charteris being the Vice-President until his death in 1993, when he was succeeded by Roger Moore, Ian Ogilvy and Simon Dutton. Club dues are £30.00 for a lifetime membership, or £3.50 for an annual subscription. All proceeds from the membership fees and the sale of merchandise go to charities nominated by our Vice-Presidents.

The bi/gendered/trans/ etc. weekly upgrade reminds me of the 'woofers and tweeters' sketch from Not the Nine-o'Clock-News.

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Ross
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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

Post by Ross »

Ah, just an ad hominem with no evidence to back it up. It says more about Bryson than it does Charteris. Ah well...

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Re: Lady on a Train 1945.

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Ross wrote:Ah, just an ad hominem with no evidence to back it up. It says more about Bryson than it does Charteris. Ah well...
Granted he's talking about his childhood self.but the passage "...I later learned he was half Chinese....so even if I had seen him,I would probably have thought that he was Charteris' herbalist or something" is a bit dodgy.

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