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 whom she had a not so pleasant encounter at the inn the evening ... Written by
Leslie Gilliat shot screen tests, including that of Michael Redgrave (with and without moustache), and later remembered that when testing one actress for the role of Miss Froy, Alfred Hitchcock instructed him not to put any film in the camera, since he had already secretly and successfully negotiated for Dame May Whitty to play the part. See more »
In the opening scene of the movie, the camera tracks downward in an aerial view over the side of a snow-covered mountain to show railroad tracks and the front of a train's locomotive buried by an avalanche, close to a train station in a small mountain village. As the camera passes over the train and four railroad officials standing to the left of it, one of the officials swivels to the left and then to the right, as if he were rotating on a pivot. As the camera moves closer to the ground, away from the train station and along a village street at ordinary eye level, it shows an automobile crossing the far end of a street; the string pulling the automobile along the street is plainly visible for an instant. Both this detail and the movement of the railroad official show that the entire opening scene was shot upon a scale-model miniature set. See more »
From 1938, The Lady Vanishes is clearly where Hitch was getting comfortable in his trade. Starting slowly, it soon revs up with mystery and intrigue. But I think that was the whole point. A seemingly innocuous day can lead itself into adventure.
Starting in some remote European village, a woman meets a little old lady. Getting on the train the next day, the old lady vanishes without a trace while she is asleep. When she asks about the lady, people say that there was no old lady. The mystery then ensues as our leading lady tries to uncover the plot behind a woman she knows was there.
The main aspect of this movie is the everyday humor that is applied. The two English fellows who are only looking for the latest cricket scores, score themselves some remarkable laughs. Our hero that comes to the leading woman's assistance is funny and charming himself. The time spent at the beginning in the hotel may seem to be off topic, making a viewer wonder where the mystery is, but the point is that the viewer becomes acquainted with the characters and are much more believable to the viewer. Again, I think Hitch was showing us our next door neighbors and how they can rise up against unusually dangerous circumstances. I think my analysis of Hitch would be his championing the moral fiber of everyman. I think that is why Hitchcock films still stand today as some of the best ever made.
This movie receives my major recommendation. Not done yet. I got more to view and review. What fun!
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