Flabbergasting peak suspense, civilized but breathlessly fast. This is one of Hitchcock's finest British films, a classic mystery that manages to combine humor with a genuine sense of menace--not to mention the kinds of characters that everyone dreams of meeting on a Central European train
The film is set into motion when a seemingly innocuous old woman, Miss Froy (Whitty), disappears while on board a train bound for England. An acquaintance, Iris (Lockwood), becomes concerned and sets out to find her. Despite the fact that there are only so many places to hide on a speeding train,
Whitty cannot be found. Even more mysteriously, no one else seems convinced that she ever really existed. Each time that Lockwood thinks she has proof of what happened, that proof itself evaporates; and each time she begins to doubt her own memory, some objective fact re-alerts her suspicions.
After a series of ingenious developments, Lockwood finally uncovers the truth with the help of music scholar Gilbert (Redgrave).
THE LADY VANISHES begins slowly but picks up speed as it goes along, finally steaming toward a suspenseful denouement. The film was extremely popular in the US and laid the tracks for the great British director's new career in Hollywood. After striking a deal with David O. Selznick, Hitchcock
completed one more British picture, JAMAICA INN, and began a love affair with America, returning to England just once more, some 30 years later, for FRENZY.
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