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
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 there is a 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 »
Fast moving early Hitchcock comedy/thriller with memorable acting and outstanding script
Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) mysteriously vanishes while on a long train journey through the Swiss Alps during a cold winter. Margaret Lockwood as Iris Henderson is the only person on the train who believes that Miss Froy has disappeared (or in fact that she even existed!) but Lockwood manages to persuade fellow traveller music scholar Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave) to assist her in the search. Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne (as cricket fans Charters and Caldicott) have seen Miss Froy but are fearful that an investigation into her disappearance might delay the train and therefore stop them getting to Manchester in time for their beloved Test Match so they decide to stay silent. Paul Lukas (Dr Hartz) tries to convince Lockwood she is mistaken and has imagined the entire episode due to a blow on the head she received prior to the train journey. Cecil Parker (Mr Todhunter) has his own reasons for keeping quiet as he does not want his illicit affair with Linden Travers to become public knowledge. Several other passengers on the train have seen Miss Froy but do not want to be involved which confuses our heroine and places her in grave danger as the journey progresses.
Shame about the fake model shots at the start of the film but this aside Hitchcock skilfully keeps the suspense at a high level and the witty script by Sidney Gilliatt and Frank Launder is both entertaining and enthralling. Hitchcock obviously has a liking for trains as his films have often featured long train sequences. "The 39 Steps", "Strangers on a Train" and "North by Northwest" are just three classic examples.
Some favourite lines from the film:
Margaret Lockwood: "I've no regrets - I've been everywhere and done everything. I've eaten caviar at Cannes, sausage rolls at the dogs. I've played baccarat at Biarritz, and darts with the rural dean. What is there left for me but marriage?".
Basil Radford (on the phone to London): "No, you don't follow me sir - I'm enquiring about the Test Match in Manchester. Cricket, sir, cricket!! What! You don't know! You can't be in England and not know the Test score!".
Margaret Lockwood (to Michael Redgrave): "I know there's a Miss Froy - she's as real as you are".
Paul Lukas (to Margaret Lockwood): "There is no Miss Froy - there never was a Miss Froy. Merely a very subjective image".
Although "The Lady Vanishes" is one of Hitchcock's very early black and white British films (1938) it anticipates the future expertise, skills and talent of this accomplished director and is well worth viewing. If you are waiting to spot Hitchcock's regular cameo appearance this doesn't take place until the closing minutes of the film so settle back and enjoy the plot then watch out for Hitchcock smoking a cigar at Victoria Station almost at the end! "The Lady Vanishes" was remade in colour in 1979 with Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd but the Hitchcock version is definitely the one to see. 10/10. Clive Roberts.
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