The Lady Vanishes (1938)

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  • directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave
  • while traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

“I never think you should judge a country by its politics. After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren’t we? “

God, I love Hitchcock. Weird saying that since I am still to this day criminally not up to date on his catalog but I know what I’ve seen and the common threads running through all of them are up my alley, to say the least. Excitedly, there will be a few more firsts for me when it comes to Hitch in the near future.

What starts as something of a cute comedy, aided greatly by Michael Redgrave’s smooth debut performance, The Lady Vanishes quickly evolves into a tale of government intrigue, mystery, and blockbuster action all at once. It sounds insane and there’s not many people I’d trust to pull off such a feat, but somehow, thinking back on it, you can’t even place the seams between the genres. It just goes and you gladly and nervously go with it.

There’s an amazing scene between the two leads right after the panic first hits Iris. There they sit having a normal calm conversation, with Gilbert attempting to sooth her growing paranoia and as it seems like she’s finally settling down, Hitchcock flashes us, the viewer, a visual clue that shit is about to reenter the fan. Nobody onscreen sees it for another minute or two, he gives it to us only, and that’s a decent marker for what Hitchcock tries to do through his career going forward. There’s an involvement and inclusion to his movies that just doesn’t exist elsewhere. If you pay close enough attention, he plays you like a fiddle over and over.

I also loved the baggage car scene with the magician’s trick-door disappearing booth. If there was ever a physical manifestation of what Hitchcock was trying to do here, and in many of his other films, it would certainly be a magician’s trick-door disappearing booth. What seems like a silly, straightforward plywood box one minute, can in the next minute represent the unexplainable and mystical.

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About classixquest
all the things I should have seen

2 Responses to The Lady Vanishes (1938)

  1. Pingback: Number Seventeen (1932) | classixquest

  2. Pingback: Number Seventeen (1932) | classixquest

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