Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Margaret Lockwood
Michael Redgrave
Paul Lukas
May Whitty
Cecil Parker.
Directors
Alfred Hitchcock.
Screenwriters
Alma Reville
Sidney Gilliat
Frank Launder.
Running Time
97 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Exorcist, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Romance
3 Star Empire Rating
Green Mile, The
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Gremlins
5 Star Empire Rating
Intolerance
5 Star Empire Rating
Spirited Away
5 Star Empire Rating
Thief Of Bagdad, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Killing Fields, The
5 Star Empire Rating

The Lady Vanishes
One of Hitchcock's best British movies - and more than a match for many of his American offerings


submit to reddit


Plot
When the seemingly harmless Miss Froy disappears on a transcontinental train, Iris Henderson enlists the help of her fellow English passengers, including dilettante musicologist Gilbert Redman to confound the schemes of Dr Hertz and his sinister accomplices.


Review

Train thrillers were all the rage in the 1930s. Agatha Christie published  Murder on the Orient Express in 1934, while Ethel Lina White's play,  The Wheel Spins, had opened in the West End two years later. The latter's screen adaptation was written by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliatt, who were no strangers to trainbound mysteries themselves, having penned Seven Sinners  in 1936. Indeed, the two most memorable characters in this enduringly enjoyable Hitchcock classic, Charters and Caldicott, were inspired by Gordon Harker's golf nut in Rome Express and the voluble corset salesman that Robert Donat encountered en route to Scotland in Hitch's The 39 Steps.

    As he would later prove with Lifeboat (1944), Rope (1948) and  Rear Window (1954), Hitchcock was the master of confined spaces and he makes splendid use of the train's compartments and corridors to emphasise the audacious ingenuity of Dr Hertz's kidnap plot.

    However, it's the dialogue and characterisation that make The Lady Vanishes so mischievously gratifying. Countless lines crackle with wit and insinuation, whether it's adulterous politician Eric Todhunter (Parker) trying to sustain a modicum of propriety with his mistress Margaret (Travers) or Gilbert discussing his parentage and his relationship with the German woman who pays his rent.

    But much of the humour centres on Charters and Caldicott, who were brilliantly played (as they would be in several subsequent features) by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, neither of whom were particularly known for their comic prowess. However, they don't just provide light relief. They also confound Hitler's view of the British as Woosteresque buffoons and someone at the Reich's Chancellory should have noted how they not only did their bit in the shoot out, but also enabled Mrs Froy to slip away undetected and helped drive the train to safety.

     Released to coincide with the Munich Crisis, the film proved a major success on both sides of the Atlantic and was key in securing Hitchcock an invitation to work in Hollywood.


Extras

Lady Vanishes, The Lady Vanishes, The
Released: 01 September 2003
None.


Verdict
The formula of an innocent thrust into a nightmare would fascinate Hitch for decades to come, but here he packs the tale with strong characters and important details.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Review Of 2014: The Best TV Moments Of The Year
We celebrate the small screen's biggest scenes

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)