The Lady Vanishes (1938)



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

Movie Info

Miss Froy disappears on her return train trip from a vacation in the Balkans. However, Iris Henderson is the only person, on a train filled with suspicious and unsavory characters, who can attest that Miss Froy was ever on that trip.

Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Alma Reville, Sidney Gilliat, Frank Launder
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 9, 2000
Gaumont British Picture Corporation - Official Site


as Iris Henderson

as Gilbert Redman

as Dr. Hartz

as Miss Froy

as Eric Todhunter

as Margaret Todhunter

as Baroness

as Caldicott

as Charters

as Hotel Manager

as Signor Doppo

as Signora Doppo

as Mme. Kummer

as Blanche

as Signora Doppo

as Charters
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Lady Vanishes

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (5)

The Lady Vanishes exhibits Director Alfred Hitchcock, England's portly master of melodrama, at the top of his form.

Full Review… | August 13, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 19, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's the greatest-ever comedy-thriller, the greatest film set on a train, a faultlessly cast mirror held up to the nation in the year of Munich.

Full Review… | August 13, 2014
Observer [UK]

It remains the most complex and enlivening of Hitchcock's earliest films.

Full Review… | April 19, 2014

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.

Spencer S.

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.

familiar stranger

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!

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

The Lady Vanishes Quotes

– Submitted by Mac C (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Mithil B (3 years ago)

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