Whenever you remake a classic film especially one with the Hitchcock name attached to it, there are bound to be a number of unfair comparisons which is what happened when this film was originally released in 1980 (the same fate befell Don Sharp's 1978 remake of another Hitchcock film, THE 39 STEPS). Cybill Shepherd had yet to appear in MOONLIGHTING (the white dress she wore in this film got her the job) and her career was still suffering from what Peter Bogdanovich did to it. Elliot Gould was reaching the end of his career as a marquee name so both were ideal fodder for dissatisfied critics. They may not have been the ideal casting choices but they work well together in the screwball comedy approach that screenwriter George Axelrod (THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH) adopted. Then there is Angela Lansbury who is simply perfect as Miss Froy. Throw in Herbert Lom, Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael as Chalders and Caldicott and Douglas Slocombe's gorgeous Austrian photography and you have a very enjoyable 2 hours.
As indicated in the title of the review, I referred to the film as being ill-fated as indeed it was. Not only was it unfairly compared to the Hitchcock original and was the last feature film of Cybill Shepherd's for many years, but it bombed at the box office big time and turned out to be the last film produced by Michael Carreras and Hammer Films which went into receivership while the film was in release. While it's certainly no masterpiece, the 1979 THE LADY VANISHES deserves better treatment than it has received so far. Just check out the other reviews and see how much people have enjoyed it when they finally got a chance to see it. POSTSCRIPT: After being dormant for 30 years, Hammer Films is planning a comeback in a big way with an English language version of the Swedish vampire film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (titled LET ME IN) and a 3-D remake of the classic ghost story, THE WOMAN IN BLACK. While it won't be the Hammer of old, it'll be good to see the name up on the screen once more and who knows maybe it could be the start of another comeback for them.