Classic Film Guide

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

A delightful, in fact overtly funny, gem of a film (certainly in my Hitchcock top 10) starring Dame May Whitty and Paul Lukas, among others. Hitchcock begins the movie with typical British witty humor, laced with nuance, but then builds the suspense as the story progresses. The premise is that an old woman (Whitty), a passenger on a train, disappears. At least one lady aboard, Iris (Margaret Lockwood), insists that she's missing while most of the other passengers either deny it, or can't be convinced of it (particularly since a "substitute" old woman is on the train). Finally, another passenger, a musician named Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), agrees to help Iris. There's a climactic shoot-out scene, but one of the most memorable things (for me) about the film is the comedic pairing of Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford, who play two of the other passengers. Cecil Parker, among others, also appears. Hitchcock won the Best Director Award from the New York Film Critics Circle.

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