The Lady Vanishes
Spies! Playing the game of love - and sudden death!
Hitchcock classic, based on Ethel Lina White's novel "The Wheel Turns". Travellers on a trans-European train are delayed for a night due to bad weather in a small fictional country called Mandrika. The passengers cram into the small village hotel where socialite Iris Henderson meets an old governess called Miss Froy. Shortly after the journey restarts, Miss Froy disappears.
After forgetting to download the horror film I was going to watch tonight, I decided to get back on the Hitchcocks - something I was all the more keen to do when I realised the next one was The Lady Vanishes.
After Hitchcock followed up his first true classic, The 39 Steps, with a trio of good but unspectacular thrillers, there may have been some suggestion that that was as good as it was going to get from the rotund auteur. Guess again, old chaps, because The Lady Vanishes, for my money, superseded his previous best to become his very best film to date.
It's a pretty simple tale that sees the delightful Margaret Lockwood try to convince Michael Redgrave,…
It may be sacrilege or blasphemous, but I'm not a big fan of Hitchcock. It seems like if you've seen one, you've seen them all, and nothing I've seen has blown me away. Yeah, he played a big part in defining the thriller genre, but in 2013 they seem a bit stiff and by the numbers. There are a few Hitchcock films that keep you guessing and even feature a surprise ending, but The Lady Vanishes was not one of them.
So, what we have is a story about a small group of people who are snowed in at an overcrowded hotel, waiting to take a train back to England. Once aboard, one of the passengers goes missing, while everyone…
The December Challenge: Film 36
Pre-war Hitchcock films are a goldmine for those who think that his later works are some of the greatest pieces of cinema ever produced. Though few of them are as tightly written or intricately detailed as the films for which he is most revered, they offer a great insight into how the man’s style and his knack for great storytelling evolved over the course of his career. Even in 1938, when The Lady Vanishes was first released, the themes for which Hitchcock is now infamous were obvious. Packed…
Nothing beats Hitchcock at his best, and this film is Hitchcock at his best. It's part mystery, part spy thriller, and part cautionary tale about the dangers of apathy and cowardice. If you haven't seen it, please do.
A much-needed rewatch, since I didn't remember hardly anything about the film but the premise. Great to revisit. A lot more comedy than I remembered, but most of it works - a pity some of the jokes get buried because of the poor sound quality (and this is on HuluPlus, which I'd assume is the Criterion print, but maybe they're using the public domain one).
I'm glad I saw Night Train to Munich not too long ago - I'd heard the two films are sort of cousins, in a pre-war-espionage-on-trains and during-war-espionage-on-trains kind of way. This one is more mystery, whereas NIght Train is more action, though. Both very solid films, and would make a great double feature.
Works so beautifully as a nimble entertainment that the pointed anti-isolationism creeps up on you unawares. Interesting how my memory failed me with regard to some of its sublime plotting—I'd thought, for example, that FROY on the dining-car window was invisible and then dramatically reappears due to smoke or entering a tunnel or something, when in fact it's precisely the opposite (which is far superior): we see it long before Iris does, and when she finally notices it's immediately eradicated by smoke. But it's the gradual progression from frivolity to impassioned engagement that gives the film teeth, makes it more than just Attempted Murder on the Bandrika Express. Charters and Caldicott abandon their designated role as comic relief and…
A taut thriller with a couple of genre shifts on the way. The acting is good, the underlying story is good, it even prompted a rewatch to catch the seeds sown in the first half hour. Two things I particularly liked: how most of the people who denied seeing Mrs. Froy were not in on any conspiracy but had their own reasons which unwittingly coalesced to confound our heroine's cause; and the dalliance with ideas of perception and reality and the neuroscientific interface therein.
It still amazes me how Hitchcock can make something low-key and brightly lit so thrilling, and then somehow insert fun characters to go along with you for the ride. This was his penultimate British film, and I do think it is one of his finest.
Hitchcock is the master of mystery and suspense.
A Hitchcock classic that gainfully puts the audience through one hell of a train ride.
Absolutely hysterical with a terrific performance from Redgrave and Hitchcock doing his best twisty work to date (soon upended by 'Rebecca'). The movie never slows down once it's on the train and every character is amazingly unforgettable. The guts the movie shows too by putting a gay couple, lingerie bearing travelers, and international humor in the midst of WW2 is astounding. Bravo.
this film has plenty to offer but somehow it does feel like something is missing.
that plot is so clever in its simplicity that one has to wonder why has the movie not been remade and remade over time.
that plot is easy to follow, keeps you guessing while never confusing you nor make you impatient.
HITCHCOCK apparently was born a director because this film craftmanship is amazing; the sense of space is great as well.
i must confess that i was challenged by this film's pace but let's blame that on a sort of temporal translation.
Great early Hitchcock.
It begins with some pretty amusing comedic banter. A pair of gentlemen try to get a room in an overbooked hotel wind up having to share a room with a local maid who's none too shy. She changes her clothes right in front of them. Stretching her rubenesque body in silhouette against the light of a lone sputtering oil lamp, she reaches for the ornately-carved beams of the low ceiling and turns, slowly, to reveal the points of her nipples in the light. Then, before you get too good a look, she's moving again. Down onto the bed, crawling towards the gentlemen, who we see are aghast, are trying to to pull the quilts up to their noses. The maid…
One of Hitchcock's best. It's too bad that people seem to overlook his more humorous works and concentrate only on his later, more "scary" ones.