A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and 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 (Dame May Whitty). Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), 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 (Sir Michael Redgrave), a musicologist with ...Written by
Sir Michael Redgrave went to Cambridge, just like his character, Gilbert. He was also a chorister and took singing lessons early on in his career, which gives more credibility to Gilbert's statement that he has "a powerful voice". See more »
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 »
Closing credits: The Characters in "THE LADY VANISHES" were played by: See more »
A brief segment where a hotel maid bends down to pick up a hat from under a hotel bed is missing from most US releases, including Criterion's first official DVD and all bootlegs. It's intact in all official non-US releases and has been restored for Criterion's 2-disc remastered DVD. See more »
A Hitchcock movie filled with mystery but lacking suspense. Which is quite fine, turning "The Lady Vanishes" into a fun movie with lots of wry jokes and clever twists. You can't take it any more seriously than Hitchcock did, and he famously had fun with his ideas. That's one reason why they are recognizably Hitch.
This is a transitional movie for the director in many ways. For one thing it was hugely successful in Britain, and then later in the U.S., and Hitchcock soon moved to Hollywood where his stellar string of successes for over 20 years began. But that said, this is a film filled with provincial humor (that was a joke, in case you are British)--that is, you need to have a feel for British humor, and for the style of joking and making witty remarks (constantly) of the time. It's a hilarious movie. When you aren't laughing you're still tickled.
Which is what disappoints some viewers expecting "Psycho" or something. Nope. But you'll recognize the director's hand here, mixing regular people who are misunderstood (if not quite accused of something they didn't do) and who end up having to solve the problem themselves. And so it goes, and they do rather well for a couple of ordinary folk.
When I say there is no suspense I mean it, even when there is uncertainty. The biggest twist of the whole plot (not to be mentioned here!) is only kept from the viewer for a short while. Then the actors tell you! Yes, you are let in on the secret, and yet the movie goes on from there. That is--it's not about worrying and trying to figure it out. It's about watching the main characters work together and piece together their way out of a sticky situation. And of course eventually fall in love.
You forget sometimes that the key element in nearly every Hitchcock movie is a love story. After all, that's what matters to most of us (or all of us?) day after day, so he zeroes in on that even as the world is threatened by uranium 235 ("Notorious"), a murderer in the apartment complex ("Rear Window"), the ghost of a previous wife ("Rebecca") and so on. (Of these, "Psycho" is an interesting exception.) So watch what is actually a romantic comedy with a dash of international intrigue in the ominous year leading up to WWII, which hasn't happened at the time of filming. Great stuff.
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