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.
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as Iris Henderson
as Gilbert Redman
as Dr. Hartz
as Miss Froy
as Eric Todhunter
as Margaret Todhunter
as Hotel Manager
as Signor Doppo
as Signora Doppo
as The Nun
as Mme. Kummer
as Signora Doppo
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Critic Reviews for The Lady Vanishes
The Lady Vanishes exhibits Director Alfred Hitchcock, England's portly master of melodrama, at the top of his form.
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.
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.
Audience Reviews for The Lady Vanishes
An enjoyable but overrated film that wants so much to be funny (and make fun of British people who think only about their own problems) that it doesn't have any tension, with a plot that, even with a curious premise, is just too contrived to be taken seriously.
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.
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.
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