Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Lady Vanishes


This was something like the twenty-first film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the sixth made after he hit the big time in both England and America with The Man Who Knew Too Much. As such, it is from what I think of as his classic period that stretches down to Notorious in 1946. I think it’s one of his best. A frequent theme for Hitch was someone finding himself or herself in a situation that makes no sense. Here it’s the woman, Margaret Lockwood, confronted by a train compartment full of people who deny the existence of the old lady she had been talking to not more than an hour ago. How does the lady vanish on a train that hasn’t stopped? Tossed overboard is a possibility, I guess, but why? She and Michael Redgrave work out the sinister answer. It’s a lot of fun, though I found Redgrave more than a bit insufferable at first. The film is also notable for introducing the delightful team of Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford as Charters and Caldicott, who later appeared in several other films, cricket-mad Englishmen whose sole concern in any situation is always being able to get the sporting news and/or make it to a vital test match. Until they get in the thick of it, of course, at which time they heroically step up to the plate—or I guess I should say wicket—and do their duty as Englishmen.