IMDb > The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Lady Vanishes
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The Lady Vanishes (1938) More at IMDbPro »

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The Lady Vanishes -- While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.
The Lady Vanishes -- Trailer for The Lady Vanishes

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   31,964 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Ethel Lina White (based upon the story: "The Wheel Spins" by)
Sidney Gilliat (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Lady Vanishes on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 November 1938 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Comedy! Chills! Chuckles! in a Mystery Express! See more »
Plot:
While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(144 articles)
Daily | Renoir, De Sica, Godard
 (From Keyframe. 5 February 2015, 2:02 PM, PST)

"The Vanishing" Makes An Appearance On Blu-Ray
 (From JustPressPlay. 20 November 2014, 2:46 PM, PST)

Barnes & Noble 50% Off Criterion Sale 2014! Top Titles to Buy!
 (From Rope Of Silicon. 10 November 2014, 9:36 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Fans of "The 39 Steps" need to see this... See more (176 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Margaret Lockwood ... Iris Henderson

Michael Redgrave ... Gilbert

Paul Lukas ... Dr. Hartz

Dame May Whitty ... Miss Froy
Cecil Parker ... Mr. Todhunter
Linden Travers ... 'Mrs.' Todhunter / 'Mrs' Todhunter
Naunton Wayne ... Caldicott
Basil Radford ... Charters
Mary Clare ... Baroness
Emile Boreo ... Hotel Manager

Googie Withers ... Blanche
Sally Stewart ... Julie
Philip Leaver ... Signor Doppo
Selma Vaz Dias ... Signora Doppo (as Zelma Vas Dias)
Catherine Lacey ... The Nun (as Catherine Lacy)
Josephine Wilson ... Madame Kummer / Mme. Kummer
Charles Oliver ... The Officer
Kathleen Tremaine ... Anna
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Alfred Hitchcock ... Man in London Railway Station (uncredited)
Arthur Hohl ... Room Service Waiter (uncredited)
Roy Russell ... Violinist (uncredited)

Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
 
Writing credits
Ethel Lina White (based upon the story: "The Wheel Spins" by)

Sidney Gilliat (screen play) (as Sidney Gilliatt) and
Frank Launder (screen play)

Produced by
Edward Black .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Louis Levy (uncredited)
Charles Williams (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Jack E. Cox (photography) (as Jack Cox)
 
Film Editing by
R.E. Dearing (editing)
 
Set Decoration by
Alex Vetchinsky (settings) (as Vetchinsky)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roy Ward Baker .... assistant director (uncredited)
Tom D. Connochie .... first assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Maurice Carter .... assistant set designer (uncredited)
Albert Jullion .... assistant set designer (uncredited)
Albert Whitlock .... scenic artist (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Sydney Wiles .... recording (as S. Wiles)
Claude Hitchcock .... sound assistant (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Leslie Gilliat .... camera operator (uncredited)
Len Harris .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Leo Harris .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Maurice Oakley .... location photographer (uncredited)
Jack Parry .... location photographer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Alfred Roome .... cutting
 
Music Department
Louis Levy .... musical director
Cecil Milner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Alma Reville .... continuity
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Gainsborough Pictures (presents) (as GB Pictures) (as A 'Gainsborough' picture) (as A Gainsborough Picture also)
DistributorsOther Companies
  • Excelsior Films  Googie Withers by permission of (as Excelsior Film Productions Ltd.)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
96 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (British Acoustic Film Full - Range Recording: at Islington, London)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG (alternate rating) | Australia:G (original rating) | Canada:PG | Chile:14 | Finland:K-12 (1995) | Germany:12 | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1939) | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Korea:15 (2003) | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (1993) (1998) (2002) (2003) (2004) (2005) | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #02144) | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Director Cameo: [Alfred Hitchcock]near the end of the movie at Victoria Station wearing a black coat and smoking a cigarette.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Just after the train starts out, we see it on a high bridge; behind the locomotive and tender are a van, four passenger cars, and another van. Just after the lady vanishes, an exterior view along the side of the train shows at least five passenger cars, and we were told that there have been no stops.See more »
Quotes:
Iris Henderson:Did you notice the nun in there with the patient?
Gilbert:No, not really...
Iris Henderson:Nuns don't wear high heels.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Colonel Bogey MarchSee more »

FAQ

How does the movie end?
Any recommendations for other movies that use the vanishing person plot?
What secret information did the tune hold?
See more »
40 out of 59 people found the following review useful.
Fans of "The 39 Steps" need to see this..., 5 November 2003
Author: MovieAddict2014 from UK

Before Alfred Hitchcock struck gold with such well known films as "Vertigo" and "Psycho," he made films in his native country: England. It was in the UK that he filmed such 1930s classics as "The 39 Steps," "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Sabotage." Among these was another slightly forgotten classic, 1938's "The Lady Vanishes." It starts as a cheery lightweight romp, it becomes a suspense-filled mystery, and it ends as an engaging thriller. Most movies nowadays get stuck in a rut and become nothing more than a run-of-the-mill action extravaganza set in a simple plot which serves as the way to get the characters on screen. Hitchcock did something else: He cared about the plot, stretched it out and made it elaborately intriguing, and then filled it in with the characters afterwards.

There's a mastermind behind this, and it belongs to that big horror master himself. "The Lady Vanishes" is one of his best early films (and it would be his last British film), a true sign of what was to come in the later years of his life. It was remade in 1979 with Elliot Gould and Cybill Shepherd, but lacked the freshness and striking narrative that the original contains.

In Germany, prior to World War II, a young woman travels cross country in a train, with an eccentric woman known as Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) as a companion. Froy is a short little woman who reeks of naivety and innocence. But perhaps not everything is as plain and simple as it seems--after falling asleep on the train for a short time period, Iris (Margaret Lockwood), the young traveler, awakens to find Miss Froy absent from her seat opposite herself.

The worst thing of all is that no one recalls having seen a little old lady aboard the train. Iris looks like a delusional loony, and she even starts to doubt the story herself, when odd clues start to turn up throughout the train. Enlisting the help of Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave), a goofy man who is crazy enough to believe Iris' story, the two search in a frantic race before their train meets its arrival and Miss Froy is unloaded--if she's even still on the train.

The fundamentals of the story lie in its plot, and also in its characters. They're all lovable, from Gilbert to Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) and Charters (Basil Redford), two traveling men looking to get back to England for a cricket tournament. After the train is stopped towards the end of the film and a band of Germans tries to board the plane, one of the men quips to the other something to the effect of, "We'll never be back for the cricket match, now."

It's interesting how so many mysteries make so much sense by the end, but you can't for the life of you guess the ending ahead of time. Sometimes this is not the case (I guessed the "surprise" ending of "Identity" from the trailer), especially nowadays with each mystery film being a retread of "The Sixth Sense." But back in the Hitch days, most every mystery was a complex one that had a totally unexpected climatic ending.

Filmed on an extremely low budget, "The Lady Vanishes" surprisingly boasts some amazing special effects in some areas, at least for the decade the movie was filmed in. One of these is when Gilbert climbs the exterior of the train, and on the opposite tracks another train swooshes by, knocking him backwards. You find this type of low-budget effect nowadays in homemade movies, but then it was quite good.

But other scenes are not quite as exquisite. The opening scene post credits, in which the camera swoops down into a small German village, is filmed well but the background and foreground are both models. If you look closely, you can see that the village folk walking along the street aren't actually walking at all--they're miniature figurines! Look for the little toy car that drives by behind the building--stuff like this is classic! But even with a horrible budget Hitchcock manages to control the scene the way he wants. It shows that even with a minimal amount of money he still tried to make everything intriguing and mysterious.

And that he did. Not only is "The Lady Vanishes" one of the best mysteries of all time, it's one of the best films of all time, too. It takes a while to start, but once it does, does it ever! It's low budget, yes, but not nearly as hard to make out as "The 39 Steps," one of Hitch's earlier British films. There are a lot of Hitchcock fanatics out there, and they may not have even heard of some of his earlier, lesser known films. Plus, they may be turned off by how hard it is to make out dialogue and scenes. ("The Man Who Knew Too Much" is notorious for being hard to understand.) And so for interested Hitchcock fans, your journey starts here.

Note: Towards the end of the film, look for a quick Alfred Hitchcock cameo. He's the man at Victoria Station who walks by with a cigarette.

5/5 stars.

- John Ulmer

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I am still in shock - of how boring this movie is PiranianRose
Is horrid model shot charming or embarrassing? filmfancritic
Where is this film set? landchen
Questions about trains in UK mickeyone
Two twits in bed together jawebster2000
Other train movies? oana5874
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