Homage to Hitchcock - The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Lady Vanishes is Hitchcock’s last great British film of his tenure while still living in the U.K. He moved to America shortly after making the film. It is unfortunate that he made Jamaica Inn just prior to his departure. The Lady Vanishes would have been a much more fitting denouement.
A plot of such intricate twists and turns, and unlike The 39 Steps, I will save you the trouble of watching the film, since the beauty of the movie lay in Hitchcock’s seemingly endless array of odd characters and another use of the McGuffin by the Director.
In brief, Dame May Whitty (The Vanished Lady) is a spy for British Intelligence, attempting to get a coded message out of some mythical kingdom to aid in the war effort.
She’s kidnapped by the bad guys in order to prevent her from fulfilling her mission. However, Hitchcock’s two charming leads, Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave are convinced that they can find Ms. Froy (Whitty) in the trapped confines of a moving train, and get her and the message back to London.
And herein lies the brilliance of the movie. The bad guys can’t get away while the train is moving, BUT the good guys are in constant danger of being exterminated since there’s nowhere to hide.
And by golly that Mrs. Froy is on this train somewhere.
Eventually our two protagonists do manage to get Mrs. Froy out of danger and the train does escape the clutches of what appear to be very German-like soldiers at a border crossing.
And there is a happy ending.
British Intelligence gets the information they need; Redgrave and Lockwood fall in love; and Ms. Whitty appears safe and sound in London.
I just wish someone would remake this movie. It’s a great plot and a captive audience on a moving train is a great device.
How about it Hollywood? You’ve done nothing but crap lately. Take a stab at a classic that deserves a facelift … other than the usual spate of has been stars over 40.
Next, you ask?