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The Lady Vanishes (1938)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 1

One of Alfred Hitchcock's last British films, this glamorous thriller provides an early glimpse of the director at his most stylishly entertaining.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0

One of Alfred Hitchcock's last British films, this glamorous thriller provides an early glimpse of the director at his most stylishly entertaining.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 12,236

My Rating

Movie Info

The Lady Vanishes, Alfred Hitchcock's comedy-thriller, came at the end of his British period; this film's success brought Hitchcock to the attention of Hollywood. He would complete only one other British production, Jamaica Inn, before crossing the Atlantic to working for David O. Selznick on Rebecca. The film concerns the young Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), heading home on a train after spending the holidays in the Balkans. Iris becomes friends with a kindly old lady, Miss Froy (Dame May

PG,

Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Alma Reville, Sidney Gilliat

Nov 9, 2000

Gaumont British Picture Corporation - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (1) | DVD (14)

This film, minus the deft and artistic handling of the director, Alfred Hitchcock, despite its cast and photography, would not stand up for Grade A candidacy.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is vintage Hitchcock, with the pacing and superb editing that marked not only his 30s style but eventually every film that had any aspirations whatever to achieving suspense and rhythm.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Very much of its time (in a good way), and very enjoyable.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just in under the wire to challenge for a place on the year's best ten is The Lady Vanishes, latest of the melodramatic classics made by England's greatest director, Alfred Hitchcock.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Enormously entertaining mystery-comedy, that is also filled with feminist and political commentary.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

this director at this moment in his career, back when he was still more clever than cruel.

January 31, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Hitchcock comedy thriller is tame old-school fun.

November 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It's a flawless mix of paranoid suspense, pacing, timing and even comedy.

July 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Mais interessado em explorar a inabalável fleuma britânica como fonte de humor do que em realmente criar um suspense intrigante, este é um dos últimos exemplares da primeira fase da carreira de Hitchcock e diverte mais do que impressiona.

April 18, 2009
Cinema em Cena

The formula of an innocent thrust into a nightmare would fascinate Hitch for decades to come, but here he packs the tale with strong characters and important details.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A pleasure.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Maybe the best of Hitchcock's early, pre-USA productions.

February 22, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Classy, intriguing and highly entertaining.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Accept no substitutes for this blissful original.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

Both a neat comment on Britain's dilemma in the build-up to the impending war with Germany (to appease or not to appease?) and also a cracking piece of entertainment.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: BBC

As fresh and witty as ever.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Naturally, nobody builds suspense like 'The Master', but the appealing team of Lockwood and Redgrave receves sterling back-up from twinkly Dame May and Cecil Parker as the spineless adulterer.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Hitchcock's second-to-last British movie before decamping to LA is a fun romp celebrating the stiff-upper-lippedness of our great nation.

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

What separates Lady Vanishes

December 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

[R]epresents Hitchcock's work at its most charming.... [T]he suspense is tonic rather than truly frightening, and almost comically glamorous.

November 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Blogcritics.org
Blogcritics.org

Une intrigue astucieuse qui continue de faire des petits encore aujourd'hui

August 11, 2005

Audience Reviews for The Lady Vanishes

This film is one of Hitchcock's most famous, and earliest triumphs in London, gliding him into box office fame, and inspiring an entire new generation of filmmakers. With this, his most complex and inciting work to date, the master of suspense really drags out the plot until it finally unravels in a most thrilling fashion. Hitchcock took a tale from 1880's London and transposed it for modern audiences, set it in a fictional European country, and included spies, gunfights, and an array of violence. The film is set on a train, uses very little setting, and concerns only a handful of people. Iris (Lockwood) is riding the train with an older woman she met at a hotel in the foreign country of Baldrika. Now, the fictitious country really could be anywhere in Eastern Europe, but I got the sense that it was trying to convey somewhere in Western Russia, because between the accents and the uniformity of the officers depicted, that's what I thought of. Iris and Miss. Froy (Whitty) board the train after Iris suffers an accident, and probably gets a concussion. She passes out, and when she awakes everyone on the train says that she must have imagined her. The rest of the film Iris and Gilbert (Redgrave) try to find her amongst the luggage, lying train staff, and comedic foils (Wayne and Radford). This remains one of Hitchcock's better remembered films because the premise is so strange. Someone disappearing happens quite a bit, but for that person to be regarded as imaginary, really makes it a psychological rollercoaster. In the last twenty minutes it shifts radically from a suspenseful thriller to action thriller. After the plot is unraveled for the audience and the villain has given exposition on their plan, there's a gunfight aboard the train, and the tone shifts radically. That was very surprising, especially since it made the film even more suspenseful. This may be the first action film of its kind, pairing wit and humor with unapologetic violence. Hitchcock melds genres for the first time, and it's as seamless as expected.
November 4, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Almost everything would have fallen apart had this comic thriller being executed by anyone else than our very genius Alfred Hitchcock. There are quite a lot of characters, but as is often the case, instead of distracting, it only adds to the entertainment. Fared well for me, though a bit less than most of other Hitchcock films I've enjoyed.
August 17, 2013
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

The Lady Vanishes remains arguably one of Alfred Hitchcock's best film. With an incredibly talented cast, a pleasant mix of humour and suspense, as well as a very satisfying ending, this film shows the director at his absolute best (before coming to America and making his more popular films). Some critics and audiences have claimed the first act is too long, but there's a certain charm to the way the story takes its time setting up the characters, particularly the relationship between Iris and Gilbert.
Hitchcock's brilliance is best displayed in movies with few locations - Psycho, Rear Window, Rope. The train setting in The Lady Vanishes ensures that the characters are limited and that any one of them could be the culprit behind the kidnapping of Miss Froy. There are incredibly well executed scenes of suspense, such as the multiple shots of Miss Froy's name written on the window sill. And it is all presented with a light-hearted touch that never forgets to keep the audience laughing as much as gripping the edge of their seats. This is a must-see for Hitchcock fans!
July 4, 2013
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

The Lady Vanishes is actually quite clumsy. The overlong introduction is pointless, many of the characters bring nothing to the overall story and all seriousness is continually interrupted by misplaced humour. Nothing about it should work, if it were put forward today it would be torn to shreds by a writing team and would be unrecognisable. The thing is though, is that for all its failing, it's a great little film. Maybe it's the best example of Hitchcock's greatness because everyone loves it despite and maybe even due to it's failures. It is very likable, has a great cast of characters and an unforgettable and brilliant ending, it goes to show how some producers still can't get things right, we're too used to formula, Hitchcock addressed this (and also added to it through no fault of his own) and film makers should look at what he didn't do just as much as what he did.
March 14, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

    1. Gilbert Redman: I just had the most idiotic idea.
    2. Iris Henderson: I quite believe that....
    – Submitted by Mac C (22 months ago)
    1. Gilbert Redman: Stop hopping like a referee! Do something!
    – Submitted by Mithil B (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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The golden age star, best known for her appearance in "The Lady Vanishes," was 94.
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This week at the movies brings a twisted tale of love from beyond the grave ("Tim Burton's...

Foreign Titles

  • Eine Dame verschwindet (DE)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938) (CA)
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