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The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection
The Lady Vanishes - Criterion Collection
Actors: Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Greta Gynt, Abraham Sofaer, Charles Oliver
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2007     1hr 36min

In Alfred Hitchcock s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets Dame May Whitty s charming old spinster, who seemingly disappears into thin air....  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Basil Radford, Naunton Wayne, Greta Gynt, Abraham Sofaer, Charles Oliver
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Comedy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics, Classic Comedies, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 11/20/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1938
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1938
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A Perfect Lady
Tom S. | New York City | 09/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 1937 comic thriller is one of the first great masterpieces of Alfred Hitchcock. Based on Ethel Lina White's novel, THE WHEEL SPINS, it mixes laughs and chills better than just about any other film, before or since. A nervous bride-to-be (beautiful Margaret Lockwood) meets a sweet elderly woman (the magnificent Dame May Whitty) on a train bound through Europe to London just before WWII. Also aboard: a roguish musicologist (Michael Redgrave), a pair of adulterers (Cecil Parker and Linden Travers), a smooth German doctor (Paul Lukas), two delightfully fussy cricket fans (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne), and a mysterious nun (Catherine Lacy) wearing sexy high heels under her habit. When the old lady disappears from the moving train, the young heroine investigates, and everyone else aboard insists that she is mistaken--there never was any old lady....

I can think of no higher tribute to Hitchcock than the fact that so many recent hit films are virtual remakes of his classic gems. DISTURBIA is REAR WINDOW recast with modern teens, and the 2005 Jodie Foster thriller, FLIGHTPLAN, was an unofficial remake of THE LADY VANISHES with an airliner standing in for the train--right down to the famous "fingerprint on the window." Why do modern filmmakers keep imitating the Master's films? See for yourself. This new, 2-disc reissue from Criterion has a lot of extras and a newly remastered print of the film itself. It's a must for fans and newcomers alike. Highly Recommended."
Criterion 2-disc specs
BubbaCoop | Gem City | 09/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer
* - Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder
* - Crook's Tour, a 1941 feature-length Charters and Caldicott adventure, available for the first time on home video, starring Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne reprising their beloved The Lady Vanishes roles
* - Excerpts from François Truffaut's legendary 1962 audio interview with Alfred Hitchcock
* - Mystery Train, a new video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes by Hitchcock scholar Leonard Leff
* - Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art
* - PLUS: New essays by critic Geoffrey O'Brien and Hitchcock scholar Charles Barr

96 minutes
Black and White
Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Not Anamorphic
I know she was here...
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Alfred Hitchcock wasn't too good at straight-out comedy, which he only did once that I can remember. But he was absolutely brilliant at clever, witty thrillers -- mystery with a comic edge. One of the earliest he created was "The Lady Vanishes." While it has some major plot holes, Hitchcock makes up for those with witty dialogue and solid acting.

Iris (Margaret Lockwood) is having a last girl's-night-out with her best friends, at a small Alpine hotel, only days before her wedding to a stuffy arisocrat. As she's leaving on the train, she befriends a kindly little old governess (Dame May Whitty) -- who vanishes while Iris is napping. Even worse, everyone denies that the old lady existed, making Iris wonder if she imagined the whole thing (due to a blow on the head).

She enlists the help of eccentric musician Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) to help her find the old lady, once they are both convinced that the lady existed and that all the people who deny she was there are lying. Now the pair must go through the train in search of the woman -- but they never expected to uncover an international conspiracy and a bevy of German spies.

"The Lady Vanishes" was a pretty early movie of Hitchcock's, and at the end we're left wondering about several oddities in the plot (how is an eighty-year-old lady so athletic? How inept can those foreign agents BE?). As a spy thriller, it's enjoyable but too riddled with plot holes... but it's very good as a comedic mystery.

Hitchcock takes his time introducing us to these characters, by having them all bunk at one overcrowded hotel, and sprinkles it with clues that all is not as idyllic as it seems. One particularly funny scene has Gilbert invading Iris's suite, after she has him ejected from his room, and strewing his things all over as she orders him to leave. But Hitchcock also captures the claustrophobic feeling of being menaced on a train, with no way out.

As well as the feisty socialite and weird musician, the movie is sprinkled with cricket-obsessed Brits, ebullient hoteliers, sweet rambling old ladies, and bickering adulterous lovers. They all do fairly solid jobs, with Redgrave as a charming, slightly odd standout who keeps people awake with folk-dances, and gets all the best lines ("My father always taught me, never desert a lady in trouble. He even carried that as far as marrying Mother.")

"The Lady Vanishes" has actually been put out by Criterion before, but it was so unsatisfactory that I was better off with my cheap little Diamond edition. Presumably if they're releasing it a second time, then they've cleaned it up as even a minor Hitch movie deserves.

"The Lady Vanishes" is a comedic mystery that doesn't quite work as a spy thriller, but is taut, entertaining and amusing enough to keep you watching to the end. Definitely a keeper."
LADY HAS NOT VANISHED - Video improvement
Norm de Plume | North Hollywood, CA USA | 12/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"THE LADY VANISHES - new Criterion DVD - is a notable improvement in sharpness and contrast over Criterion's previous edition. Even if you have the old one, the new edition is worth the upgrade. If you are new to pre-American Hitchcock, this film is your best introduction. If you are inclined to purchase a cheaper version of the same film, be warned: any public domain editions are distinctly inferior."