The Lady Vanishes

1938

Alfred Hitchcock
Director
Gainsborough Pictures
Production Company

NOTE: This movie is seventy-five years old, but to be fair, I should warn folks there are spoilers in the following comments.

While traveling back to England from a holiday in a tiny mittel-Europa country, a young woman befriends a charming but enigmatic governess. When the governess disappears, the young woman finds it hard to convince anyone she ever existed.

My favorite Hitchcock film, a fine blend of subtle humor and suspense, with wonderful performances from the entire cast. Some have complained that the first half is slow-moving, and indeed it does drag slightly (especially in the gasthaus scenes). These scenes do however serve to show how very English the main characters are, and how utterly out of their element they are in the fascistic Ruritanian country of Bandrika. Indeed, this whole film is a meditation on Englishness, especially what it was like to be English on the first rumblings of what would become World War Two. Redgrave starts off as an unlikable boor, but becomes Lockwood’s most steadfast ally, while the cricket-obsessed, culturally blinkered, Charters and Caldicott are content to watch and observe, but when forced to action, do so without complaint and a shrugging resolve to get it done. On the other hand, Parker’s spineless barrister might as well be waving Chamberlain’s little paper and shouting “Peace in our time” when he is gunned down. It is worth noting that all of the English in this film are basically upper middle class, and they are saved by Lacey’s nun, the one working class English character in the film.

Finally, while Miss Froy is the vanishing lady of the title, it’s worth noting that Lockwood is, as well. In forgoing marrying the gormless Fotheringale for the musicologist Redgrave, she loses her chance to be a Lady, at least a titled one.

Followed by a quite dire remake in 1979, as well as a BBC TV movie in 2013. The latter, while more faithful to Ethel Lina White's source novel, is not particularly good.

-Dave W.


The Lady Vanishes
7th October 1938
Cinema



96 mins
1.37:1

The Lady Vanishes
1st November 1938
Cinema

Not Rated

96 mins
1.37:1

En dam försvinner
13th July 1939
Cinema


96 mins
1.37:1

En kvinde forsvinder
3rd September 1940
Cinema


96 mins
1.37:1

Alarma en el expreso
9th March 1942
Cinema


96 mins
1.37:1

The Lady Vanishes (Special Edition/ Criterion)
2nd June 1998
DVD

Not Rated


1.33:1

The Lady Vanishes (Movie-Only Edition/ LaserLight)
19th June 1998
DVD

Not Rated


1.33:1

The Lady Vansihes (Criterion)
6th December 2011
Blu-ray

Not Rated

96 mins
1.77:1



HyperLink
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Margaret Lockwood
Iris Matilda Henderson
Michael Redgrave
Gilbert Redman
Paul Lukas
Dr. Egon Hartz
Dame May Whitty
Miss Froy
May Whitty
Miss Froy
(as Dame May Whitty)
Cecil Parker
Eric Todhunter
Linden Travers
Margaret, 'Mrs.' Todhunter
Mary Clare
Baroness Atona
Naunton Wayne
Caldicott
Basil Radford
Charters
Emile Boreo
Boris - Hotel Manager
Googie Withers
Blanche
Sally Stewart
Julie
Philip Leaver
Signor Doppo
Selma Vaz Dias
Signora Doppo
(as Zelma vas Dias)
Catherine Lacey
The Nun
(as Catherine Lacy)
Josephine Wilson
Madame Kummer
Charles Oliver
The Bandrikan Officer
Kathleen Tremaine
Anna - the Hotel Maid
Unknown 10626-01
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-02
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Wallace Bosco
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-03
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-04
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-05
Gasthof Petrus Guest
(perhaps Joan Hickson?)
Unknown 10626-06
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-07
Gasthof Petrus Guest
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Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-09
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Alf Casha
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-10
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-11
Guest Questioned by Caldicott & Charters
Unknown 10626-12
Gasthof Petrus Guest
Unknown 10626-13
Rudolf, Gasthof Waiter
Unknown 10626-14
Mr. Seltzer
Unknown 10626-15
Gasthof Petrus Diner
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Gasthof Petrus Diner
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Gasthof Petrus Waiter
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Gasthof Petrus Diner
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Gasthof Petrus Diner
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Gasthof Petrus Diner
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Gasthof Petrus Guest Fighting for Seat
Unknown 10626-22
Gasthof Petrus Guest Fighting for Seat
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Gasthof Petrus Diner
Unknown 10626-24
Gasthof Petrus Waitress
Roy Russell
Guitarist
Unknown 10626-25
Dancing Porter
Unknown 10626-26
Dancing Woman
Unknown 10626-27
Man at Zolnay Station
(John Payne?)
Unknown 10626-28
Accordion Player
Unknown 10626-29
Man at Zolnay Station
Frederick Schiller
Man at Zolnay Station
(unconfirmed)
Unknown 10626-31
Conductor at Zolnay Station
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Conductor at Zolnay Station
Unknown 10626-33
Rail Worker Shoveling Snow
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Rail Worker Shoveling Snow
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Rail Worker Shoveling Snow
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Man at Zolnay Station
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Doppo filglio
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Train Passenger
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Train Passenger
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Sinister Steward
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Chief Conductor
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Train Passenger
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Old Man on Train
Unknown 10626-44
Old Man on Train ('George')
Unknown 10626-45
Ambulance Man at Dravka Station
Unknown 10626-46
Ambulance Man at Dravka Station
Unknown 10626-47
Train Passenger
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Train Passenger
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Passenger in Dining Car
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Passenger in Dining Car
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Passenger in Dining Car
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Passenger in Dining Car
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Passenger in Dining Car
Unknown 10626-54
Passenger in Dining Car
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Passenger in Dining Car
Unknown 10626-56
Train Steward
Unknown 10626-57
Train Chef
Unknown 10626-58
Train Conductor
Unknown 10626-59
Train Conductor
Unknown 10626-60
Conductor at Morsken Station
Unknown 10626-61
Conductor at Morsken Station
Unknown 10626-62
Ambulance Man at Morsken Station
Unknown 10626-63
Ambulance Man at Morsken Station
Unknown 10626-64
Rail Worker Uncoupling Cars
Unknown 10626-65
Policeman at Morsken Station
Unknown 10626-66
Bandrikan Officer
Unknown Male 54
Bandrikan Officer
Unknown 10626-68
Train Fireman
Unknown 10626-69
Train Stoker
Unknown 10626-70
Porter at Victoria Station
Alfred Hitchcock
Man at Victoria Station
Unknown 10626-71
Sir Charles Fotheringale
Unknown 10626-72
Cabbie
Unknown 10626-73
Mr. Callendar's Secretary
Unknown 10626-74
Foreign Office Man
Unknown 10626-75
Foreign Office Man
Ernest Blyth
Foreign Office Man

Dave Wright: Screencaps & Notes
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