In this best-loved of Hitchcock?s British-made thrillers, a young woman on a train meets a charming old lady (Dame May Whitty), who promptly disappears. The other passengers deny ever having seen her, leading the young wom... more »an to suspect a conspiracy. When she begins investigating, she is drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure.« less
"This is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies, along with "The 39 Steps". After purchasing the Criterion Collection version of the latter movie, I was completely impressed with the technical "magic" of the Criterion people. Picture and sound were much cleaner than my VHS copy of the movie! I purchased the Criterion transfer of "The Lady Vanishes" expecting the same level of quality. I was sorely disappointed. The picture is great, no "static", etc. But the sound is very poor, no better than my VHS tape copy. It fades in and out, especially during dialogue and then blares forth at other times. I felt, frankly, cheated after paying the premium price that Criterion DVD's command. Count me unhappy."
A Cinematic Masterpiece
Anthony Damato | Chicago, IL USA | 08/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's one thing that movies can do better than any other artistic medium. It's having you experience something from a character's point of view, and then having every other character in the movie say it never happened. Your empathy as a viewer is at its highest pitch: you saw what happened with your own eyes, and so you see it through the character's eyes as well, but then everyone denies it. This is the central scene on the train in THE LADY VANISHES. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in my opinion, is more cinematic than this. When the idea is used to trick the viewer (as in THE USUAL SUSPECTS), it's not as good (although still it's pretty good, because again it uses film in the most empathetic way possible). And when the trickery is fair--as in THE SIXTH SENSE--it can be superb. I rank THE LADY VANISHES right up there with VERTIGO, PSYCHO, and REAR WINDOW, as Hitchcock's greatest gifts to us, the moviegoers of the world. I would even add SHADOW OF A DOUBT to this pantheon. The thing I admire most about Hitchcock is that he was attracted to stories that showed what film could do as an art form. His best movies, in their different ways, display this for us. The movies I've mentioned would not be as good as novels or plays--and this is saying a great deal. It's a test, as a matter of fact, of what separates the film as an art medium from other artistic forms. The two directors who knew this best were Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney. It would be so terrific if someone were to come along someday who could be said to be their equal. Bottom line: THE LADY VANISHES is one of the best movies you will ever see, but please, it works at a slower pace than today's movies, so let it sink in for you, don't be in a hurry, EXPERIENCE it!"
Criterion is Cool
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 09/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't have the other DVD version to compare this with, but this Criterion edition of THE LADY VANISHES is very good. There is an animated index page with the sound of a train. The print of this film looks very good -- of special interest is the "restoration" section of the index. Through the use of "wipes" the Criterion people show you a before and after version of the cleaned-up print. Very neat.There is also a commentary from a film historian which is interesting, if a bit dry. I didn't get a chance to listen to the whole thing yet.This is a good Hitchcock movie. It's a lot of fun -- as innocent as a Nancy Drew mystery at times, but with interesting strokes from the master! I had a good time."
DELIGHTFUL, SURPRISING GEM
C. Cook | Ladera Ranch, CA | 10/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Lady Vanishes" is a sparkling Hitchcock cocktail that looks forward to "North By Northwest" with its light adventure/mystery plotline and romantic/witty humor. Lockwood and Redgrave are spirited and always believable and understated in their roles, and if the mystery ultimately is revealed to be a trifle thin, Hitchcock makes the journey there so much fun that we don't mind in the least. (After all, this doesn't have the depth and poetic quality of "Vertigo"--but it isn't meant to.) Wry support from the secondary cast adds humor and social commentary, and a few trademark Hitchcock images give what could have been (in lesser hands) a claustraphobic production, a real cinematic charge. The Criterion DVD is remarkable: crisp, clean images, and a great and always interesting commentary from Bruce Eder. This is the kind of film whose reputation will continue to grow with time; its understated performances and Nancy Drew type premise give it a surprisingly timeless feel. For Hitchcock fans, the film and the Criterion disc are a must."
Great film - poor transfer.
C. Cook | 01/13/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is *not* the Criterion Collection eition. THE LADY VANISHES is truly the greatest film of Hitchcock's British period, and one of his best films overall. While the source materials are of fine quality (good clean print of the film with nice contrasts and good sound), the transfer leaves much to be desired. I have seen VHS versions which were more pleasing to the eye and this DVD looks as though it was mastered from an old video tape. The introduction by Tony Curtis (!?) is a waste of time. Stick to the more expensive (but worth it) Criterion Collection edition."