In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets Dame May Whitty’s charming old spinster, who seemingly disappears into thin air. The young woman then turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure. The Lady Vanishes remains one of the master filmmaker’s purest delights. —The Criterion Collection
Alfred Hitchcock has been the most well-known director to the general public since the 1940s – and he remains so in the 21st century, more than 25 years after his death. His name evokes instant expectations on the part of audiences around the world: of a memorable night of movie-watching highlighted by at least two or three great chills (and a few more good ones), some striking black comedy, and an eccentric characterization or two in virtually every one of the director’s movies across a half-century – and usually laced with a comical cameo appearance by the director himself.
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born into a devoutly Catholic family in London, and his religious upbringing – with its attendant issues of guilt – would have a powerful influence on the psychological underpinnings of his later work. He was trained at a technical school, and initially gravitated to movies through art courses and advertising. He studied the work of other filmmakers, most notably the German expressionists… read more
The smoothest of cinematic packaging combining all manner of disparate strands (espionage, suspense thriller, sex, slapstick, mild political comment, magic tricks, etc.) into a coherent and consistent whole. There's little to be negative above with such palpable verve, charm and fun, with all involved on top form. The ease with which it's pulled off just points to the sheer professionalism involved.
The film begins in a seemingly leisurely pace, but once the machinery is set in motion, we are deep into the world of cinema, a dream within a dream. For the first time a female character takes the lead in a Hitchcockian adventure, but suffers a breakdown in a typical Hitchcock fashion. This is his most structural and sophisticated pre-Hollywood film, though I wish that the final act was as good as the rest.
Uneven pacing and a lack of plausibility render the plot slightly unconvincing. However, the two leads give excellent performances, as do the actors playing two bumbling English gentlemen. Both couples have wonderful chemistry together, and the film feels most at ease during their scenes. Skillful direction and camerawork create a real sense of menace and drama, resulting in an enjoyable, lighthearted thriller.
Also: Lubitsch, Hitchcock, Lumet, Wes Anderson and James Bridges on DVD.
"To the west, there is nothing, except America." Revived at Edinburgh Internbational Film Festival, Alexander Mackendrick's first film, Whisky
"To see a man, to see a man about a dog, or to see a man about a horse is an English language colloquialism, usually used as a smiling apology
THE CAMERA NEVER FLIES A squat black ruin lours from a massy clifftop. Ridiculously fake wind effects whoop and whoosh beneath the throbbing
To Be Anal About It For years we’ve been wondering not what is cinema, but who: Hitchcock or Renoir? Watch the minor masterpieces enough—La
Hitchcock’s late British-period masterpiece ‘The Lady Vanishes’ came into being at an odd time for him, keen to leave for America and the greater resources of Hollywood he signed a two picture deal… read review
Great fun! Hitchcock takes his time introducing the characters and letting us get to know them before loading them onto a train and introducing the mystery. And we enjoy every delightful moment of… read review
Hitchcock leaves Britain with a bang! His last studio film over the seas is perhaps one of his best, albeit a few awkward scenes scattered here and there. The Lady Vanishes is a harrowing tale of claustrophobia… read review