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
The Lady Vanishes -- In Alfred Hitchcock's most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets a charming spinster (Dame May Whitty), who then seems to disappear into thin air. The younger woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure.

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   33,288 votes »
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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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)
Nova Pilbeam obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 26 July 2015, 7:49 AM, PDT)

Nova Pilbeam obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 26 July 2015, 7:49 AM, PDT)

New on Video: ‘Jamaica Inn’
 (From SoundOnSight. 18 May 2015, 8:04 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
the best of the early Hitchcock films See more (178 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
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
Charles Oliver ... The Officer
Kathleen Tremaine ... Anna
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Alfred Hitchcock ... Man in London Railway Station (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 | 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:
Vivien Leigh tested for the role that eventually went to Margaret Lockwood.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Quotes:
Gilbert:I'm about as popular as a dose of strychnine.See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Colonel Bogey MarchSee more »

FAQ

What are the differences between the old Criterion DVD edition and the Original Version?
Did Hitchcock use MacGuffins in any of his other films?
In what other movies have Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne appeared together?
See more »
43 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
the best of the early Hitchcock films, 4 February 2001
Author: Dtkoyzis from Ontario, Canada

This is the best of the early Hitchcock films. The plot is absorbing, the dialogue clever and the cast great. Whether or not this was the first of the director's films to place its principal action on a moving train I cannot say, but it's a theme that would come back again in his later work, most notably in "Strangers on a Train."

The film gets off to a somewhat rocky start with the camera panning over an Alpine inn and a train halted mid-journey by an avalanche. I agree with the review who observes that we've become spoilt by more sophisticated special effects. A Lionel half buried in a heap of bleached wheat flower just doesn't cut it nowadays. Think also of the stick figure engulfed in the munitions factory explosion in "Saboteur." I suppose directors of that era had to do with whatever was available.

But after this point the film really takes off, and one scarcely recalls the unpromising opening. Viewers always look for the chemistry or lack thereof between actors. Well, Lockwood and Redgrave definitely have it. One cannot help but enjoy seeing how the initial sparks flying between their clashing characters develop into true love by movie's end. As the two are making their way through the train trying to locate Whitty, they move from one barely plausible predicament to another. But we love it, as one witty exchange turns quickly into another. (For example, Lockwood is asked to describe the missing Whitty and launches into an extremely detailed portrait that leaves not a single button unaccounted for. Then she ends by saying, "That's all I can remember." Counters Redgrave dryly: "Well, you can't have been paying attention.")

Much of the film's action occurs in the fictional country of Bandrika, which seems to be a thinly disguised stand-in for nazi-controlled Austria, so recently annexed by Hitler's Germany. As an amateur linguist, I found myself trying to make sense of the made-up "Bandrikan" spoken by the natives, but of course was unable to do so. (What could it be? A Finno-Ugric language? :) Most of the time the identity of Hitchcock's villains remains deliberately vague, except in "Notorious" and "Torn Curtain," where they are nazis and communists respectively. It works better when he leaves us guessing.

As an amateur musician I loved Hitch's "macguffin," namely, the secret formula encoded in a song which the protagonists had to memorize and carry to the Foreign Office in London. (I should think, however, that a genuine secret message might translate into something more like Schoenberg's twelve-tone music than a central European folk song, but of course that would hardly work in a film. :)

The early Hitchcock seemed to like shootouts, as seen also in the first version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much." But shootouts are an ineffective way to convey suspense, and this is perhaps the one thing that dims what is otherwise a masterpiece.

It's too bad the director lived long enough to see this film remade in 1979. Cybil Shepherd is no Margaret Lockwood, and it's pretty unpleasant-almost embarrassing-to see her shrieking her way through each scene. Couldn't they have waited a few years until he had passed on? They ought to have let him die in peace.

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Comparisons with 2013 BBC Version viaggio1
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
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