A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
Passengers on a scheduled train out of the mountainous European country of Mandrika are delayed by a day due to an avalanche, and thus get up close and personal with each other out of necessity in the only and what becomes an overcrowded inn in the area. Once the train departs, the one person who it is uncertain is on the train is a middle aged English governess named Miss Froy. Iris Henderson, who was vacationing in Mandrika with girlfriends before heading back to England to get married, is certain that Miss Froy was on the train as they were in the same compartment and they had tea together in the dining car, but all those people who can corroborate her story don't seem to want to do so. Iris' thoughts are easily dismissed as a possible concussion as Iris was hit over the head just before boarding the train. Iris will take anyone's help in finding Miss Froy, even that of an Englishman named Gilbert, a musicologist with who she had a not so pleasant encounter at the inn the evening ... Written by
In the original cut, as seen in the 25th Anniversary national re-release of 1963, Charters and Caldicott have to share the same pair of pyjamas in the hotel after Charters has accidentally dropped his in the water jug. In later years and showings this innocent preamble has been snipped out and we cut straight to them in bed together. Though we can still see Charters' pyjamas hanging up to dry, the explanation has disappeared. See more »
The way Charters leans over Caldicott in bed when the maid enters changes between shots. See more »
[because the hotel is full, Charters and Caldicott have been forced to share the maid's room]
They might at least have given us one each?
The room at least.
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Delightful comedy thriller, the best of Hitchcock's British films
The Lady Vanishes is a wonderful piece of fluff, the culmination of Hitchcock's British period, after which he started to explore more serious themes in his American films. Of course the basic plot is absurd, centering around the most ridiculous way to get a secret message through one can think of, and why did.....o well, never mind, it's the handling that matters, and Hitchcock achieves a near perfect balance here of humour and suspense that he only really matched on one other film, North By Northwest.
The film spends 20 or so minutes just introducing it's characters, but they are all so great, especially the two men so obsessed with returning to a cricket match that a case of disappearance and possibly murder is relatively unimportant, that it hardly matters, while Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood simply sparkle as the main couple who of course initially can't stand each other. Once on the train, the ensuring mystery and sleuthing are riveting,and full of fantastic little details- the name on the window, the nun with high heeled shoes, the fight amidst a magician's paraphenalia The final shootout is excellently staged and still quite exciting. The laughs are constant, with some helarious lines, but they never detract from the suspense. Of course there's those shoddy model shots, but hell, this is a film from 1939!
Hitchcock had countless classics to come, including such complex masterpieces as Vertigo and Rear Window, but the delightful, hugely enjoyable The Lady Vanishes is a little masterpiece of it's own.
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