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4.0 out of 5 stars She vanishes
Alfred Hitchcock wasn't too good at straight-out comedy, which he only did once. But he was absolutely brilliant at clever, witty thrillers, one of the earliest of which is "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...
Published on Feb. 22 2007 by E. A Solinas

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movies; lousy transfer
I don't know why other versions of this movie are mixed in with the Criterion Collection version (or why Amazon persists in lumping VHS reviews with DVD reviews) that I am reviewing--it's confusing and frustrating to those who click on a particular version to learn about that version. The movie itself rates 5 stars, but the transfer barely rates at all. Criterion has a...
Published on Jan. 4 2002 by Tom Anderson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She vanishes, Feb. 22 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes [Import] (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock wasn't too good at straight-out comedy, which he only did once. But he was absolutely brilliant at clever, witty thrillers, one of the earliest of which is "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. 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.

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. Now the pair must go through the train in search of the old lady -- but they never expected to uncover an international conspiracy, which could leave them all dead.

"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 flawed but passable... 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. 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.

As well as the feisty socialite and weird musician, the movie is sprinkled with cricket-obsessed Brits, ebullient hoteliers, and bickering adulterous lovers. They all do fairly solid jobs, with Redgrave as a charming, slightly odd standout. And they all get some entertaining dialogue, no matter how stodgy they are. ("My father always taught me, never desert a lady in trouble. He even carried that as far as marrying Mother.")

"The Lady Vanishes" is a comedic mystery that doesn't quite work as a spy thriller. But it's still an entertaining, taut little movie. Definitely a keeper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lady Vanishes:, Nov. 26 2013
By 
J. M. Arnold (bc canada) - See all my reviews
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I have seen many versions of The Lady Vanishes ,but this version by Alfred Hitchcock's is the best, I am so pleased to have it in my collection. Joan A
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flat Foot Floozy with a Froy-Froy, Oct. 6 2013
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lady Vanishes (Criterion) (Blu-Ray) (Blu-ray)
Oops a "Freudian slip." Reference to a song that came out in the same year as the movie.

This Hitchcock movie is based on the book "The Wheel Spins", by Ethel Lina White. It is fun to read the base story to compare to the movie.

One may complain or praise the presentation media yet the bottom line is that once you start to watch the movie that all becomes secondary to the story and the acting.

I will not go through the whole story as the fun is watching it unfold or maybe not unfold fast enough. I think that is called suspense.

Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) a vacationer is stuck in a hotel waiting for a train that is blocked by an avalanche. There she forms an adversarial friendship with a traveling musician (Michael Redgrave.)

When the train finally gets underway Iris who is hit on the heads by an accident is being looked after by Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty). When Miss Froy goes missing on a moving train, nobody remembers her ever being there. Dr. Hartz (Paul Lukas) explains that with a bump on the head you can imagine all kinds of people. Gilbert her new musician friend tries to placate her and he may be her only link to sanity as he helps her in her search for the missing Mrs. Fry.

We to are sure that there is a Mrs. Froy and take part in the search.
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4.0 out of 5 stars All aboard for fun, Aug. 14 2009
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Spunky Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) boards a train in Eastern Europe on her way to be married in England. Aboard are a colorful assortment of characters including two cricket-obsessed eccentrics, a suspicious couple having an illicit affair, and a rather scary magician. One bright note is an elderly governess, Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) whom Iris befriends. As the trip gets underway, the old lady promptly disappears and no one seems to have seen her except Iris, who did suffer a bop on the head earlier and may have imagined her.

While the basic plot is a lot like Flightplan, this 1938 Alfred Hitchcock suspense story is full of comedic touches. The quirky characters are well-developed and appropriately silly or menacing and I was kept interested and guessing until the end. Lockwood is quite likeable as the spirited heroine and Michael Redgrave is fun as her joking yet sympathetic new friend.

The movie loses a star because model trains and bad indoor-for-outdoor sets are obviously used and in a shootout, two pistols hold at least a hundred bullets. But the overall mood is exciting as well as playful; indeed, this is a good mystery that doesn't take itself too seriously. Recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I know she was here, Aug. 29 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Budget Release Meets/Exceeds Expectations, May 4 2004
By 
C. T. Mikesell (near Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hitchcock;Alfred Thrillers (DVD)
First the usual warnings: caveat emptor, you get what you pay for, etc. etc. etc., yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. With that out of the way, let me say that getting these three early Hitchcock films at such a low price is an extremely good deal. Sure they're blurry in parts and there are occasional picture/sound glitches, but nothing really interferes with either the storytelling or the suspense, which is really why you're watching them in the first place.
Let me add that the four-star rating is for the DVD as a whole. None of the films are presented at four-star quality (The Lady Vanishes is maybe three-and-a-half), but the fact that you get three movies instead of one or two bumps the score from average to slightly-above.
The Man Who Knew Too Much is the oldest of the three movies and its print and sound quality are the most deteriorated. Nevertheless, the symphony scene and the final gunfight retain their suspensefulness. The movie holds its own against the 1956 remake; Leslie Banks is no Jimmy Stewart, but at least Edna Banks doesn't sing.
Secret Agent features a young John Gielgud, only a year or two out of short pants, I'm sure. Peter Lorre steals the show here, however, as an assassin or curious nationality. Of the three, I felt this was the least Hitchcockian in comparison with his later - and greater - work. It works on a psychological level, like his very-early Blackmail, rather than building the suspense of the other two films on this DVD or terror of Psycho or The Birds. The "self-translating" cypher notes are a nice effect; the spinning bowls and train crash are nice attempts at special effects that fall a little short of the mark.
The Lady Vanishes is the most recent of these films, and sports the best sound and picture. It also has some of the most recognizable Hitchcockian touches. The poisoned brandies framed in the extreme foreground, the hero(ine) whose sanity is in doubt, etc. It's also the most comedic throughout (although Lorre and Robert Young play their roles for laughs in Secret Agent, too).
If you want pristine remastered prints of these films, look elsewhere and expect to pay significantly more than a few dollars per movie. If you can "make do" with versions that look 65-70 years old, and want to experience Hitchcock early in his career, give this DVD a spin. If it turns out not to be to your liking, at least you haven't paid a lot to find that out. Odds are you'll find you get a lot for the price (a brief biography of Hitchcock appears on the disc, trivia factoids appear on the packaging), and won't experience buyer's remorse or feel ripped off by your purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No "North by Northwest," but good early Hitchcock, April 9 2004
This review is from: Lady Vanishes, the (DVD)
This is early Hitchcock and you can see the talent that was already there. He made this story into a great suspense film, even though there were quite a few implausibilities. It's an odd film, though, in that it mixes a rather dark story (woman disappearing on a train) with an almost slapstick feel at times. This caught me off guard, and sometimes subverted the tension Hitchcock was trying to create. But it's a very witty film, quite fast-paced once it gets going, and very suspenseful. Definitely a fine example of early Hitchcock and an interesting look at turn-of-the-century Scotland.
Also, since this is a Criterion edition, the special features are excellent. Even more impressive, considering that the movie was made in 1935. They include an original press book that you can zoom in on and read, as well as commentary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a great release for Criterion and one of Hitchcock's best !, Feb. 21 2004
By 
Ted "Ted" (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
The Lady vanishes is one of my most favorite Hitchcock films.
In it a young British woman meets an older Biritsh woman on a train in continental Europe. Later, her friend is nowhere to be seen and when no one else remembers her being there, she suspects a conspiracy.
It is another great one of the Pre WWII films that talks about Europe having 'problems' that will eventually lead to the second war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, decent transfer, weak on the extras, Jan. 25 2004
One of Hitchcock's early classics, The Lady Vanishes looks pretty good on this Criterion transfer. Although it isn't up to Spellbound, Notorious or The 39 Steps in picture quality and sound, it's better than many of the other transfer I've seen.
The only extra is an audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder. It's pretty good but doesn't justify the price for this set. Seems to me Criterion should have given Lady a bargain price. What about vintage ads, any radio performances or a documentary on the making of the film? While everyone that participated is dead, it would have given this set added value and made it worthwhile for the price.
It's a pity as this Lady deserved much better.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, disappointing transfer!, July 12 2003
By 
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.
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