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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic by any definition
Many films since have tried to make hay out of a similar concept, just how can a woman go missing from a moving train without anyone seemingly having seen her, but none have ever made for a movie quite as good as this genuine classic from 1938.

Of course the audience knows that Miss Foy, a delightful turn from Dame May Whitty, was on the train and we soon learn...
Published on 16 Aug. 2008 by IWFIcon

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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film - Awful Print
This is one of the greatest comedy mysteries of all time and if you haven't seen it yet then your film education is sadly remiss. The script is witty and clever, the acting has just the right lightness of touch for this genre and Hitchcock's direction is as masterful as ever. However this Cinema Club DVD version is appalling: the sound is lousy and the print is a...
Published on 9 Oct. 2001


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic by any definition, 16 Aug. 2008
By 
IWFIcon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] (DVD)
Many films since have tried to make hay out of a similar concept, just how can a woman go missing from a moving train without anyone seemingly having seen her, but none have ever made for a movie quite as good as this genuine classic from 1938.

Of course the audience knows that Miss Foy, a delightful turn from Dame May Whitty, was on the train and we soon learn the reasons why the other passengers don't believe, or won't back up, Iris Henderson (another great turn from Margaret Lockwood) when she insists that the old woman has, well, vanished. Two bumbling Englishmen don't want to miss the test cricket, a lawyer doesn't get involved because he's in the middle of an illicit romantic affair.

When it was remade in 1979, badly, the action almost immediately cut to everyone meeting on the train; here almost 20 minutes elapses before we get to that point and the time invested at the beginning in this filling out of the story pays off superbly when the crunch comes further down the line giving the viewer a greater, and more logical, insight into the intimacy that has developed between the characters.

Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave share a flirtatious rapport and the humour in the film is charming in the extreme. Throw in a little pre-war propaganda (although on this note, its interesting to watch the bumbling Englishmen of Charters & Coldicutt) and you have an admittedly light concoction, but one that is perfectly assembled. And as numerous subsequent attempts along the same lines have proved, it's impossible to improve on perfection.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They've finally got it right!!, 16 Sept. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] [1938] (DVD)
This is one of the greatest comedy mysteries of all time and if you haven't seen it yet then your film education is sadly remiss. The script is witty and clever, the acting has just the right lightness of touch for this genre and Hitchcock's direction is as masterful as ever. And what's more - this time Carlton have produced a fantastic print of the film: it looks gorgeous!! And this gives really added value to what is already a smashing film. As I noted in a previous review, the old Cinema Classics DVD print was shameful - but I have to give credit here where it is due; this is excellent. Well done Carlton. Great film, beautifully reproduced. This is a perfect film for a cold winter's afternoon in front of the fire. Buy it now.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ITV STUDIOS RELEASE IS THE THE DVD TO BUY, 1 Jan. 2012
By 
N. Stinchcombe (Birmingham, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] [1938] (DVD)
Since Hitchcock's classic 1938 film is now in the public domain there are some dodgy DVD releases available - all of them on sale to unwary customers on Amazon. Some have been mastered from poor quality prints, while at least one release has (sacrilegiously!) edited the film to cut out all references to cricket so as not to bewilder American viewers. The latter move destroys one of the best running gags in the film done with deadpan seriousness by the comic double act of Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford. Rest assured this edition issued by ITV Studios (the names of Carlton and the Rank Organisation appear on the rear of the DVD) comes in a very good quality print and not a second has been shaved off the running time of this delightful comedy-drama.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Film - Awful Print, 9 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the greatest comedy mysteries of all time and if you haven't seen it yet then your film education is sadly remiss. The script is witty and clever, the acting has just the right lightness of touch for this genre and Hitchcock's direction is as masterful as ever. However this Cinema Club DVD version is appalling: the sound is lousy and the print is a disgrace - there is even a dirty great scratch all the way down the right hand side of the print for all of the last reel! Why bother doing a DVD transfer when they are not prepared to do some work on the film to make it look and sound as good as possible? The publishers should hang their heads in shame. This is a 5 star film on a no star print. An insult.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great print of a great film., 8 April 2008
By 
Johnnybluetime - See all my reviews
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For me this is one of Hitchcock's, and therefore cinema's, very best films and Criterion have done a great job here because this could easily be shown at the cinema today.The print to my eyes is generally flawless.The sound is very good too and I'd say that overall this is well worth paying the extra money for.

The second disc contains,amongst other things,an engrossing documentary,and a Charters and Caldicott adventure, Crook's Tour.It's set in the Middle East,but it suffers badly from being very studio bound and without Hitchcock's flair the characters to me lose a good deal of their lustre.I watched 15 minutes and then gave up and put the disc away for another day.Even so, it does give some added value and takes some of the sting out of paying fifteen quid for a 70 year old film,even if it is a classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All aboard for fun, 15 Aug. 2009
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] (DVD)
Spunky Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) boards a train in Eastern Europe on her way to be married in England. Aboard are a colorful assortment of characters including two cricket-obsessed eccentrics, a suspicious couple having an illicit affair, and a rather scary magician. One bright note is an elderly governess, Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) whom Iris befriends. As the trip gets underway, the old lady promptly disappears and no one seems to have seen her except Iris, who did suffer a bop on the head earlier and may have imagined her.

While the basic plot is a lot like Flightplan, this 1938 Alfred Hitchcock suspense story is full of comedic touches. The quirky characters are well-developed and appropriately silly or menacing and I was kept interested and guessing until the end. Lockwood is quite likeable as the spirited heroine and Michael Redgrave is fun as her joking yet sympathetic new friend.

The movie loses a star because model trains and bad indoor-for-outdoor sets are obviously used and in a shootout, two pistols hold at least a hundred bullets. But the overall mood is exciting as well as playful; indeed, this is a good mystery that doesn't take itself too seriously. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I know she was here, 29 Aug. 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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Alfred Hitchcock wasn't too good at straight-out comedy, which he only did once that I can remember. But he was absolutely brilliant at clever, witty thrillers -- mystery with a comic edge. One of the earliest he created was "The Lady Vanishes." While it has some major plot holes, Hitchcock makes up for those with witty dialogue and solid acting.

Iris (Margaret Lockwood) is having a last girl's-night-out with her best friends, at a small Alpine hotel, only days before her wedding to a stuffy arisocrat. As she's leaving on the train, she befriends a kindly little old governess (Dame May Whitty) -- who vanishes while Iris is napping. Even worse, everyone denies that the old lady existed, making Iris wonder if she imagined the whole thing (due to a blow on the head).

She enlists the help of eccentric musician Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) to help her find the old lady, once they are both convinced that the lady existed and that all the people who deny she was there are lying. Now the pair must go through the train in search of the woman -- but they never expected to uncover an international conspiracy and a bevy of German spies.

"The Lady Vanishes" was a pretty early movie of Hitchcock's, and at the end we're left wondering about several oddities in the plot (how is an eighty-year-old lady so athletic? How inept can those foreign agents BE?). As a spy thriller, it's enjoyable but too riddled with plot holes... but it's very good as a comedic mystery.

Hitchcock takes his time introducing us to these characters, by having them all bunk at one overcrowded hotel, and sprinkles it with clues that all is not as idyllic as it seems. One particularly funny scene has Gilbert invading Iris's suite, after she has him ejected from his room, and strewing his things all over as she orders him to leave. But Hitchcock also captures the claustrophobic feeling of being menaced on a train, with no way out.

As well as the feisty socialite and weird musician, the movie is sprinkled with cricket-obsessed Brits, ebullient hoteliers, sweet rambling old ladies, and bickering adulterous lovers. They all do fairly solid jobs, with Redgrave as a charming, slightly odd standout who keeps people awake with folk-dances, and gets all the best lines ("My father always taught me, never desert a lady in trouble. He even carried that as far as marrying Mother.")

"The Lady Vanishes" is a comedic mystery that doesn't quite work as a spy thriller, but is taut, entertaining and amusing enough to keep you watching to the end. Definitely a keeper.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, entertaining, with some comic twists, 3 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] (DVD)
Much has been written about this early Hitchcock -- it's a delightful film, full of twists and turns. But there are one or two extraordinary comic touches that seem glossed over in most reviews. Note the bizarre scene in which Charters and Cauldicott, the cricket-mad, eccentric Englishmen (who in the 1980s were resurrected by the BBC with their own off-beat series), are forced to share a bed when their hotel is snowed in. They seem also to be sharing the one set of pyjamas, one chap wearing the top, the other the bottom . . . An "in" joke, or directorial impish humour? The only negative about the film is its age: its cardboard sets and sound-stage interiors do look very cheap and dated indeed, but it is nearly 70 years old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a class act, 11 July 2014
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [DVD] (DVD)
The Lady Vanishes is one of Hitchcock's lightest and most successful capers. It is packed full of incident and strings you along as if the train (on which most of it takes place) were the rope. The tone is easy-going from the off but when the lady does vanish it does become quite intriguing, and a whole bunch of characters have already been sketched and brought to life because of a delayed departure in the Alps. Dame May Whitty excels as the lady of the title, beautifully offset, in primary position, by Michael Redgrave - all charm and energy - and Margaret Lockwood, who is returning to London to marry imminently. So there should be nothing doing there, but the screen chemistry sizzles as they try to solve the disappearance of the fairly elderly Miss Froy. A lot of vintage Hitchcock tropes are here - trains passing with Redgrave caught between the two, birds involved in a scrap, although here it's doves peacefully flapping to stop it rather than the marauders of over twenty years later, and minor actors in character roles, especially two cricket lovers who share a bed, who end up behaving more gallantly than their initial evasive attitudes suggest. There is a lot to enjoy, in fact it is a particularly light and inventive story from quite early in Hitchcock's career.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Crescendo to the English Period, 22 Nov. 2000
By 
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This was Hitchcock's last film before his triumphant defection to the US (aside from the obviously-contractually-obliged "Jamaica Inn"), and as a result it sees him at the top of his first major artistic peak. It comes after his six strongest films (all of them thrillers) and in retrospect provides an excellent full stop before his hesitant start in America.
Margaret Lockwood is the vulnerable central heroine, to whom things happen purely by accident. She is the "Did I/Didn't I" witness to the abduction of the apparently harmless old lady Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty), and goes through quite a substantial amount of self-doubt before becoming sure of what she saw.
Stiff upper lipped Michael Redgrave provides an excellent (and amusing) shoulder to cry on, before the whole plot is revealed and turns into a shootout between secret agents.
Whitty is excellent as the frail (but secretly hard as nails) Miss Froy, and Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne are rightly vaunted as the "couldn't give a stuff" double-act of Charters and Cauldicott.
Excellent, sexy, thrilling, droll English Hitch. You can forget later versions of this film, they just don't cut it.
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The Lady Vanishes [DVD] [1938]
The Lady Vanishes [DVD] [1938] by Alfred Hitchcock (DVD - 2003)
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