The Lady Vanishes is a 2012/2013 British drama and mystery film directed by Diarmuid Lawrence and is a co-production of the BBC (first broadcast in March 2013 on BBC One) and Masterpiece Films. Based on the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White (1876-1944), it stars Selina Cadell in the key role of the disappearing Miss Froy, Tuppence Middleton as the young Iris Carr (who discovers the disappearance, but is not taken seriously), and Tom Hughes and Alex Jennings as Max Hare and the Professor, the two fellow English passengers who come to her aid.
According to Wikipedia, the film is less a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 film of the same name than a new interpretation of the novel, one based far more closely on it. It depicts a young and beautiful English socialite, Iris Carr, travelling by train across 1930s Europe, returning to England from Croatia. She is alarmed by the mysterious disappearance of a woman, Miss Froy, also travelling on the train. She enlists the help (initially given somewhat reluctantly) of the handsome young Max Hare, and his former Oxford Professor, who are travelling together on the train.. The setting of the remake is the luxury express passenger train from Croatia to Trieste, rather than in the original fictional country. An entire 1930s luxury passenger train interior, complete with sleeping carriages, a dining car, and a passenger bar and lounge car, were all recreated in Budapest for the production of this film adaptation.
Despite the plush and intriguing setting and excellent supporting cast, the film is marred by the casting of the unknown Tuppence Middleton as the young socialite who enlists the help of her fellow train passengers to find Miss Froy. Middleton is quite believable as a spoiled rich girl who bribes a station attendant for a last seat on the train, but she lacks the pedigree to carry the film. One could almost wish to replace her with a young Margaret Lockwood who played the part in the Hitchcock 1938 film.
The plot and characterization changes from the earlier film are dramatic. An English governess disappears, not as a clever M-16 British agent, but as a witness to a sensational European murder. The occupants of the train are skeptical observers of a rather frivolous young woman's dilemma and are almost Agatha Christie-like in their connections to the story. Miss Marple is replaced by two other nosey biddies. A handsome young man (Tom Hughes) saves the day. A beautiful and mysterious woman (Keeley Hawes) having an affair with a British lord and a frustrated minister's wife (Gemma Jones) finally ignore a sinister Baroness (Benedikte Hansen) and come to the aid of our young heroine.
It's too bad the heroine doesn't deserve much aid...