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
"The Lady Vanishes" is one of Director Alfred Hitchcock's best British made films, in fact I think it's one of his all time best.
Set in pre-WWII somewhere in Europe, A group of people board a train bound for England after having spent the previous night in an overcrowded hotel. Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) befriends a kindly old governess/teacher, Miss Froy (Dame May Witty). When Iris is struck by a falling flowerpot, Miss Froy promises to take care of her as they board the train.
After having tea together, the two women return to their compartment where Iris falls asleep. When she awakes, Miss Froy is gone, totally vanished. The people sharing the compartment, "The Baroness" (Mary Clare), Signor and Signora Doppo (Philip Leaver, Selma Van Dias) deny ever having seen Miss Froy. Doctor Hartz (Paul Lukas) comes to her aid and is convinced that the bump Iris received to her head may have caused a memory lapse.
Iris then meets Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave) whom she had met the previous evening at the hotel. He offers his help. Skeptical at first, he soon comes to believe Iris' story. Eric Todhunter (Cecil Parker) and "Mrs." Todhunter (Linden Travers) deny seeing Miss Froy because they are in the midst of an extra marital affair. Two British "gentlemen", Caldicott (Naughton Wayne) and Charters (Basil Radford) though having seen Miss Froy with Iris, don't wish to become involved.
When Dr. Hartz brings a patient aboard the train, Gilbert and Iris become suspicious and.......................................
As was his custom, Hitchcock pits his heroine against all odds in her quest to find Miss Froy. The suspense builds as the situation becomes more hopeless. This would be a theme that the master of suspense would use throughout his career. He also liked to work trains into many of his plots, including this film of which three quarters takes place on board a train.
The scene in the hotel showing Caldicott and Charters sharing a bed (and a pair of pajamas) never would have gotten by the American censors. The relationship between the Todhunters as well, was quite obvious and rare for the American cinema of the day.
This is one of Hitchcock's best films and hasn't suffered because of age. Highly recommended.
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