The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Not Rated   |    |  Mystery, Thriller

The Lady Vanishes (1938) Poster

While travelling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

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  • Linden Travers in The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne in The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave in The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Googie Withers in The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Alfred Hitchcock and Margaret Lockwood in The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Margaret Lockwood in The Lady Vanishes (1938)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

26 September 2004 | DrLenera
Delightful comedy thriller, the best of Hitchcock's British films
The Lady Vanishes is a wonderful piece of fluff, the culmination of Hitchcock's British period, after which he started to explore more serious themes in his American films. Of course the basic plot is absurd, centering around the most ridiculous way to get a secret message through one can think of, and why did.....o well, never mind, it's the handling that matters, and Hitchcock achieves a near perfect balance here of humour and suspense that he only really matched on one other film, North By Northwest.

The film spends 20 or so minutes just introducing it's characters, but they are all so great, especially the two men so obsessed with returning to a cricket match that a case of disappearance and possibly murder is relatively unimportant, that it hardly matters, while Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood simply sparkle as the main couple who of course initially can't stand each other. Once on the train, the ensuring mystery and sleuthing are riveting,and full of fantastic little details- the name on the window, the nun with high heeled shoes, the fight amidst a magician's paraphenalia The final shootout is excellently staged and still quite exciting. The laughs are constant, with some helarious lines, but they never detract from the suspense. Of course there's those shoddy model shots, but hell, this is a film from 1939!

Hitchcock had countless classics to come, including such complex masterpieces as Vertigo and Rear Window, but the delightful, hugely enjoyable The Lady Vanishes is a little masterpiece of it's own.

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Did You Know?


Orson Welles reportedly saw this movie eleven times.


Iris: Boris? Miss Henderson speaking. Look, someone upstairs is playing musical chairs with an elephant. Move one of them out, will you? I want to get some sleep.


In the opening scene of the movie, the camera tracks downward in an aerial view over the side of a snow-covered mountain to show railroad tracks and the front of a train's locomotive buried by an avalanche, close to a train station in a small mountain village. As the camera passes over the train and four railroad officials standing to the left of it, one of the officials swivels to the left and then to the right, as if he were rotating on a pivot. As the camera moves closer to the ground, away from the train station and along a village street at ordinary eye level, it shows an automobile crossing the far end of a street; the string pulling the automobile along the street is plainly visible for an instant. Both this detail and the movement of the railroad official show that the entire opening scene was shot upon a scale-model miniature set.

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: The Characters in "THE LADY VANISHES" were played by:

Alternate Versions

A brief segment where the hotel maid bends down to pick up a hat from under the bed in the hotel room she shares with Charters and Caldicott discover they have to share a bedroom is missing from most US releases, including the original 1-disc DVD from Criterion but is intact in all European editions of the film. It has been restored for Criterion's 2-disc remastered edition of the film.


Colonel Bogey March
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by
Kenneth Alford
Hummed by Michael Redgrave


Plot Summary

Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Mystery | Thriller

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