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.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW REFERS TO 'THE LADY VANISHES' ONLY:
One of the greatest movies from the 1930s!
Margaret Lockwood stars as a passenger on a train who is befriended by an elderly lady (Dame May Whitty) after receiving a bang on the head. The plot thickens when Miss Froy (Whitty) goes missing, but no one on the train will admit to ever having seen her.
Lots of suspense in this, and not a boring moment! This can be watched over and over and still remains as fresh as the day it was made! This classic suspense movie will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time! Includes a galaxy of stars, with some outstanding performances - particularly those of Catherine Lacey (the nun), Linden Travers, Dame May Whtty and of course Lockwood herself.
Of course I prefer the original version of this story but this movie is made highly enjoyable and entertaining due to the presence of so many famous faces from British and American television. Witness the two cricket fans - who can watch this scene and not think about the two actors in their familiar DAD'S ARMY roles? Cybill Shepherd would later go on to much success in the show MOONLIGHTING and of course Angela Lansbury eventually found worldwide fame for her turn as the female sleuth in MURDER SHE WROTE. Here Lansbury plays a nanny turned spy who is attempting to get back to Britain with some vital information. Set in pre-WWII Germany this movie chronicles the trip of Cybill Shepherds character back to the UK to be reunited with her fiance. On the train she befriends a Ms. Froy and another American (played by Elliott Gould). However, things go awry when Ms. Froy seemingly vanishes into thin air and nobody on the train seems to have any memory of her. Is Shepherds character losing her marbles - Gould certainly seems to think so...that is until he spots something out of the train window for a fleeting second. Its a superb story and very satisfying. I really enjoy this charming thriller.
This is a brilliant remake of a Hitchcock classic (and I know some will shoot me down in flames for saying it, but I actually prefer it) starring the wonderful Angela Lansbury, Cybill Shepherd and Elliot Gould. The story is almost identical to the Hitchcock version except the heroine (Shepherd) is now an American heiress rather than a British heroine. The photography (on location in Austria) is sumptious and the music score catchy. There is also a wonderful turn by Athur Lowe and Ian Carmichle as two cricket mad characters taken straight from the Hitchcock version. I used to have the British DVD version of this movie in 2:1:35 Scope and it often plays on Film 4 in 16:9. What makes this Americal region 1 version so special is the picture has been digitally remastered (some filmic grain visible) in full cinemascope with rich colours that echo the hollywood films of the 50's and match the fine period detail of the film and more importantly there is an option to watch the film in ENHANCED 5.1 DOLBY DIGITAL. And biy have they done an excellent job. Dialogue is locked fimly to the centre channel and the music and ALL ambient effects are beautifully spread out in the front, side and rear speakers. Can't recommend enough
The film is loosley based on the book by Ethel Lina White. It has a fantastic cast including Angela Lansbury and Elliot Gould. The scenery is fantastic as it was shot entirely in central Europe. With surprises around every bend this is a classic, however the original is better.