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Review of The Lady Vanishes
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THE LADY VANISHES

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"The Lady Vanishes" is one of Alfred Hitchcock's early black and white films (1938) and the success of this film helped Hitchcock to be recognised in America as a talented director. He made just one more film in England after "The Lady Vanishes" then left for America where he became famous as a top director of suspense movies. "The Lady Vanishes" is a cracking comedy thriller with a notable script by Sidney Gilliatt, Frank Launder and Alma Reville (Hitchcock's wife). Mainly set on a train snowbound in the Swiss Alps Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) befriends Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty). Miss Froy then mysteriously vanishes and no one on the train will admit seeing her (although many of them did in fact meet her they each have their own reasons to keep quiet about it). Iris manages to persuade fellow traveller Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave in his screen debut) to help her in the search. Cricket fanatics Charters and Caldicott (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne) have seen Miss Froy on the train but are worried that an investigation into her disappearance might delay them getting to Manchester in time for their beloved Test Match so they decide to stay silent. Dr Hartz (Paul Lucas) tries to convince Iris that she is mistaken and has imagined the entire episode due to a blow on the head she received prior to the train journey. Several other passengers on the train also saw Miss Froy but do not want to be involved which confuses our heroine and places her in great danger as the journey progresses. The film was remade in colour in 1979 with Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd but the Hitchcock version is still the best in my opinion. For anyone interested in spotting Hitchcock's regular cameo appearance this comes right at the end of the film when Lockwood and Redgrave arrive back in London. (Hitchcock can be seen at Victoria Station wearing a black coat and smoking a cigar). Radford and Wayne were so popular as Charters and Caldicott that they reprised these characters in other films.
Favourite lines:
Margaret Lockwood (on phone to hotel manager): "Boris, Miss Henderson speaking. Look, someone upstairs is playing musical chairs with an elephant. Move one of them out will you? I want to get some sleep".
Lockwood: "I've no regrets. I've been everywhere and done everything. I've eaten caviar at Cannes, sausage rolls at the dogs. I've played baccarat at Biarritz, and darts with the rural dean. What is there left for me but marriage?".
Lockwood (to Michael Redgrave): "You're the most contemptible person I've ever met in all my life".
Basil Radford (on the phone to London): "I'm enquiring about the Test Match in Manchester. Cricket, sir, cricket! What! You don't know! You can't be in England and not know the Test score!".
Lockwood (to Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne): "Well, I don't see how a thing like cricket can make you forget seeing people". Radford: "Oh, don't you? Well, if that's your attitude there's obviously nothing more to be said".
Lockwood (to Redgrave): "I know there's a Miss Froy - she's as real as you are".
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Added by classic movie buff 6 years ago
on 21 July 2008 15:35



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