Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hitchcock is at his finest with
'The Lady Vanishes'

The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, and May Witty
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Returning by train to England from a vacation in a small European country, Iris (Lockwood) befriends the elderly Ms. Froy (Witty). When Ms. Froy disappears from the moving train, Iris suspects foul play, but no one other than Iris seems to have ever noticed the woman. Is Iris losing her mind, or is something sinister unfolding, something sinister that perhaps even her charming would-be suitor Gilbert (Redgrave) is part of?

"The Lady Vanishes" is one of Hitchcock's best movies. It features stars that generate fabulous chemistry on screen, an excellent supporting cast (the two cricket-loving Englishmen provide some of the funniest moments in any Hitchcock movie, including those that were promoted as pure comedies).

The movie is remarkable, because it's got a romantic comedy air about it, and it's an atmosphere that never quite dissipates even as the tension and mystery about the fate (or even the very existence) of Ms. Froy grows. The story moves from the sinister environment of a suspense thriller back to a more lighthearted, comedic sensibility with such effortless grace that whether your in the mood for a comedy, a mystery, or a thriller, "The Lady Vanishes" will leave you satisfied.

This film should be on any True Movie Geek's "Must See"/"Have Seen" list.

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