Straightforward in a sense

Yes, The Lady Vanishes (1938) was straightforward in a sense.

But here’s a review:


Travellers are stranded for a night at a Swiss hotel, after an avalanche, then an older lady mysteriously vanishes, on the train journey back home.

The event causes the lady’s new friend to enquire what happened, but ending up a dead end each time. It becomes apparent what is going on, after the mystery has done its dash.

Charters and Caldicott, played by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, are a couple of refined gentlemen travellers, whose Britishness is disguised as wit in a number of comic moments. Absolutely hilarious. They are more fixated on the cricket match at home in Manchester than their immediate surrounds, which makes for several funny moments.

Margaret Lockwood and May Whitty as the friends on the train are both lovely.

Michael Redgrave plays a loveable rogue-type character which Lockwood’s character Iris tends to perceive as flawed as well as charming.

This Alfred Hitchcock film, made in Britain before the director departed for the U.S., was made with plot elements that are also familiar in today’s films. The engaged Iris (Margaret Lockwood) who meets a more exciting man than her fiancé is the precedent of a well used (by now) and tired out plot point where the fiancé is always awkward in comparison to the new man.

Another thread of an affair between married people ends up with one of them realizing what she’s done.

Suspense thrillers are not my favorites, they tend to be about hide and seek, where dubious parts of human nature are covered up in the pursuit of crimes, but other than that the thriller department is still in need of a mend, it tends to be straightforwardly told.

With good at its core and entertainment value running through it, it might have managed to rise above its limitations, and it does somewhat.

My response: Better one–with reservation. Experience positive or negative at times, virtue positive.




Master of suspense

Two weeks ago I watched a classic thriller. It was Alfred Hitchcock’s second to last British film. It was released in 1938 and Hitchcock released his first American film in 1940. But for all its very good humor, The Lady Vanishes was more straightforward in the thriller department. I was surprised. Presumably, the film came out before Hitchcock was labelled the master of suspense.