The Lady Vanishes (1938)

“We’re not in England now.”

In an overcrowded inn in the Alps, a motley assortment of travelers gather waiting for the next train. There’s a sweet elderly governess, Miss Froy (May Whity), a young girl, Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) who’s returning to England to get married, 2 bored Englishmen, an adulterous couple, and a free-spirited young musician Gilbert Redman (Michael Redgrave). The travelers board the train, and Iris strikes up a friendship with Miss Froy. However, when Iris wakes from a short nap, Miss Froy has disappeared, but fellow passengers deny that Miss Froy even existed. Stuck on the fast-moving train with no one who believes her story about the missing governess, Iris insists that something has happened to Miss Froy. With everyone implying that Iris hallucinated or dreamt the existence of Miss Froy, Iris turns to Redman for help.

The Lady Vanishes is a splendid classic Hitchcock film. It begins with the bucolic simplicity of the inn and then the film’s focus gradually shifts to the sinister realization that Iris is surrounded by people she can’t trust. The film’s sinister atmosphere is heightened by the atmospheric, desperate train journey. The film includes some of Hitchcock’s favourite themes: the ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances and the reliability of the visual. The inexpensive Delta DVD is decent quality and a fair print for its time. Extras include an introduction by Tony Curtis and some additional footage.

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