The Lady Vanishes (1938) - Mystery, Thriller

Hohum Score



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

IMDB: 7.8
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave
Length: 96 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 22 out of 221 found boring (9.95%)

One-line Reviews (191)

" It starts as a cheery lightweight romp, it becomes a suspense-filled mystery, and it ends as an engaging thriller.

Very entertaining and intriguing once story picks up momentum.

No spoilers will be given here, but there will be a train diversion and an exciting shootout.

Ultimately, it is a very enjoyable and satisfying film, and nice to finally see some of the Master's early work.

The exciting and well handled shoot-out action towards the end is not something you get too often in movies of this age; and really if it's a classic entertaining mystery flick you're after then this is pretty much a perfect target.

But the film's most intriguing performances come from character actors like Paul Lukas, Cecil Parker, Naughton Wayne, and Basil Radford.

Excitement, Humor, & Entertaining Characters .

The mystery itself is intriguing and remains so with its various twists.

The story, despite its seemingly claustrophobic setting aboard a moving train, never lags, and is always intriguing and interesting.

This is a truly lovely and enjoyable film.

The characters and set pieces created here are just so purely entertaining, it's actually ironically one of the most engrossing parts of the film.

The first 25 minutes of this 96 minute long movie, called "THE LADY VANISHES"were totally nonsensical and a complete waste of time.

So, if you can tolerate the first open events, then your reward is one heck of a suspenseful film.

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.

Almost like a rehearsal for North by Northwest, 'Vanishes' is an extremely engaging film bringing together the strands of thriller, mystery and comedy and effortlessly weaving them together.

When we first meet Miss Froy, obviously an old maid, she comes across as whimsical and sentimental, boring Charters and Caldicott with her talk about the beautiful country.

I personally like the old movies better sometimes; slower, more charming.

This is a movie so breezy, fun, intriguing, and surprisingly lacking in morbidity (for a Hitchcock movie), how can you not watch it, no matter what your mood?

The story starts a little slowly, but soon becomes intriguing.

The repartee between Henderson and Redman is quick and snappy, reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles in the "Thin Man" series.

Overall, it mayn't be Hitchcock's very best or most memorable, but it is still a wonderful, sublime, well constructed and intriguing comedy thriller.

The glaring plot-holes we can overlook, but an exchange of gun-fire conducted unconvincingly and at length threatens to induce a yawn.

It's entertaining, relatively amusing and paced to perfection.

I found myself bored and even dulled at times.

A fun, gripping ride.

But the engaging plot does what it is supposed to, keeping you interested and wondering what will happen next, rather than why it is happening the way it is.

The snappy repartee between the two is perhaps the film's highlight.

At the time, so highly original and gripping that variations have since evolved into urban mythology.

There are only a few Hitchcockian moments: a montage of eyes in the heroine's vision directly after she receives the blow on the head meant for Miss Froy; the superimposition of Froy's face on each of the faces of those denying her existence, in a rapid montage from the heroine's point of view; the revelation of the Harriman's tea carton against the train window at a crucial moment in the hero's wavering belief in the truth of the heroine's story; the name written on the train window above the tea table; the entirely realistic and unpolished struggle in the baggage car – all delightful and wonderfully engaging bits of cinematography and editing.

If I haven't made myself entirely clear, let me plainly say that this is a highly imaginative and entertaining film.

But once this gets going it's as thrilling as any well made modern production of the past twenty- five or so years.

On an overall scale, The Lady Vanishes is an enjoyable, entertaining & endearing cinema from Alfred Hitchcock that ranks amongst his finest works & has successfully endured the test of time as, even after so many decades, it hasn't lost much of its touch.

The actions of the characters become predictable and the film becomes tedious.

The performances were solid, and it was very entertaining.

When Iris and Gilbert actually start locating clues as to her whereabouts, the film actually becomes even more suspenseful as we still have no idea about where she is.

The relationship between the leads is most enjoyable to watch develop.

It concerns about a woman caught in an intriguing thriller and being visually interesting and mostly involving and mysterious .

Both processes occur very slowly, but prove to be highly enjoyable in the Epicurean sense.

It's quite a modern thrilling movie that doesn't let go.

One of Hitch's best, and certainly one of his most entertaining.

Still incredible that this was so enjoyable and the 1979 remake was so dire – neither was meant to be watched twice or generations later, Hitchcock's will be though.

Working and financed by the ministry of propaganda in London to indoctrinate subordinate English audiences into supporting the rationale for the vilification of Germany, Hitchcock eases the tension by making this a "comedy".

But the overall mood is exciting as well as playful; indeed, this is a good mystery that doesn't take itself too seriously.

There are whole scenes (the clog-dancing hotel staff, the episode with the sugar-lumps, the fight in the baggage-car) which are completely unnecessary but give the movie a wonderfully goofy feel - the humour plays brilliantly against the suspense, making the story scarier and more enjoyable.

It's a simple but compelling Sidney Gilliat screenplay with Hitchcock at his suspenseful best.

Whilst "The Lady Vanishes" doesn't ascribe a nationality to its villains, it nevertheless serves as one of Hitchcock's early propaganda pieces.

This is yet another exciting Hitchcock/Gaumont British entry.

Gripping .

I can see why some modern viewers find this movie boring.

The story is well-written with many dryly humorous lines with believable acting and an unexpected finale.

The master director makes this an enjoyable experience by adding enough plot twists and turns to keep the viewer truly guessing as to what exactly is going on.

There is barely a minute that passes when characters aren't thrown into surprising, unexpected situations, including some very bizarre ones, resulting in hilarity at every turn.

For Alfred Hitchcock, comic relief during some very tense times was exactly what the doctor ordered, and he delivered precisely that with this very entertaining and fascinating film.

It's enjoyable throughout, despite some obvious 'ageing' (slight xenophobia included).

Dame May Witty is very enjoyable, particularly as we learn her secrets.

"The Lady Vanishes" is the other type of Hitchcock film--the type where two would-be lovers throw themselves into intrigue partly out of boredom and partly as a means to romance one another.

confusing and boring at the same time.

Thankfully, the story doesn't become stagnant afterwards, taking a number of truly unexpected turns (I mean, a shootout?

When Lockwood sees "Froy" written on the window she hastily tries to draw the disbelieving Redgrave to it; but, alas, the train - just at that moment - passes through a tunnel, and somehow the writing on the window disappears when they exit the tunnel (damn predictable, too).

Contrary to what my wife might say, this movie is still as refreshingly mysterious, suspenseful and absorbing as it must have been around the time of its release.

We're given a host of twists and turns and the development never ceases to be highly dynamic, while the acting is very good with notably the two main and the doctor characters, the dialog as always in Hitchcock films of very sound quality, and it seems just about the right length - such films turn dull after too many twists and lingering plot.

Shame about the fake model shots at the start of the film but this aside Hitchcock skilfully keeps the suspense at a high level and the witty script by Sidney Gilliatt and Frank Launder is both entertaining and enthralling.

Exciting, Silly And Hugely Entertaining Early Hitchcock Spy Thriller .

The acting is great(thanks in no small part to Redgrave's great comic timing), the plot is entirely gripping and the film showcases some really neat old fashioned Lydecker-esque special effects.

'The whole thing's too absurd …'—yeah, and only too suspenseful, witty and delicious as well .

Probably Alfred Hitchcock's WORST movie (although Frenzy was pretty awful.

Hitchcock directs this with many clever and intriguing moments and he plays with sound and lack of sound or sound that obscures something important.

It's definitely worth seeing, and worth watching more than once for anyone who enjoys Hitchcock.

Feverish and dreamy, funny, suspenseful, inventive and playful—early Hitchcock masterpieces-- The old British amusement cinema was leisurely to an enviable degree—'so excellent and smooth that I'm never thrown out of the piece for a moment'.

Imagine you're in a train, falling asleep and waking up to find out that your travelling companion has suddenly disappeared and none of the other passengers seems to recall his existence.

It shows that even with a minimal amount of money he still tried to make everything intriguing and mysterious.

Unlike later Hitchcock movies, "The Lady Vanishes" is quite predictable.

I saw this film from the Master of Suspense, director Sir Alfred Hitchcock, I remembered it being very engaging even though I didn't get the ending properly, so I was looking forward to seeing it again.

The search for Miss Froy is a long and suspenseful one.

The opening scene in a European village looks breathtaking for an obvious model, and some of the most suspenseful moments come on the train - one scene in the baggage department and another on a railway car stranded dead on the tracks.

It's not until the second act that this becomes obvious, which is also when the thriller becomes decidedly more thrilling.

Instead, I suggest it as one way of looking beneath the compelling surface.

not surprising, because her presence/absence remains same fascinating.

The train setting itself is also a source of plenty of little devices – the screeching whistles and thundering wheels which build the feeling of confusion and mystery, not to mention the most heart-racing moment when Michael Redgrave clambers along the outside of the train.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable little mystery from a master.

The premise of the film is an intriguing one, a pair of women board a train in a mythical central European country.

A solid suspense thriller but too slow for my liking .

Brilliant, Exciting, and Intriguing .

The plot is tedious and convoluted, and despite assurances that the inert first half hour is great comedy, I'd beg to disagree.

By this cliché term I am referring to a concrete picture of what shape and form a movie is going to take.

"The Lady Vanishes" is a gripping yarn that is sure to absorb one's attention and excite as much (or even more) as any film made today.

Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave make an enjoyable couple of amateur slueths; the 'vanishing' Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) is the focus of the mystery.

It's actually pretty amusing and entertaining until the final third when it literally loses the plot.

The film takes about 25 minutes to unfold, and to be honest is rather boring.

" But back in the Hitch days, most every mystery was a complex one that had a totally unexpected climatic ending.

Intriguing plot, though gets too convoluted towards the end, and the final scene is rather tame and trite.

It was funny, thrilling, and just plain old fun to watch.

All the players are spot on with their performances and Hitchcock's direction is assured and intense, moving things along at a brisk pace and deftly balancing humor and drama.

It's beautifully acted especially by Lockwood, Redgrave and Witty and features some typically adroit Hitchcockian flourishes, like the closeup of the "drugged" drinks and the multi-image collage scene demonstrating Lockwood's concussion and with an exciting finish highlighting the stiff British upper lip at its best, this is classic escapist entertainment and is rightly considered one of the best adventure films of all time.

He forces you to move along with the engaging plot.

Not as polished as his later generic examples like "North by Northwest," "The Lady Vanishes" is fast paced, full of fun, and suspenseful.

The propaganda angle becomes most apparent in the final act, where the dining carriage of all things becomes a metaphor for England – isolated and forced to defend itself.

This is a duality that is reflected in many other areas of the film, not the least of which is the fact that, like many other Hitchcock films, The Lady Vanishes contains an unusual but surprisingly effective juxtaposition of comedy and tension, resulting in an entertaining thriller that can make you laugh just as much as it can make you nervous.

Hitchcock directs this very originally and interestingly written motion picture adaptation of a book and all in all this is a very entertaining train ride, with bumps along the road both literally and figuratively, and an ability to keep the viewer constantly interested and genuinely intrigued as to what is actually going on.

You can guess the scenario from the evocative title: Iris Henderson falls asleep on a train opposite an old lady and wakes up to find that the old lady has vanished.

Then the action becomes straight suspenseful, and some scenes are actually chilling ….

The Lady Vanishes is a hugely entertaining spy story from the early years of British cinema with a lot of the skillful touches we expect to find in a Hitchcock film - comedy, romance, eccentric characters and a thrilling train ride.

The film is fascinating, it is funny, and it is wonderfully acted.

Of course you can guess the ending, the woman falls in love with the English chap who helped her on the train, and England is saved and her glorious social structure remains intact, an utterly absurd film from a director who is a specialist in fear and suspicion during the paranoid 1930's but most audiences will take this as merely a "thriller" instead of understanding its proper origin and purpose in the ideology of propaganda.

Whilst typically viewed as being apolitical, Hitchcock actually made several propaganda pictures ("Foreign Correspondent", "Adventure Malgache", "F3080", "Bon Voyage", "Sabotage", "Topaz", "Lifeboat", "Torn Curtain" etc).

When a pair of unknown hands starts to strangle a man who is serenading under Miss Froy's room, the mystery kicks off (in hindsight, another brilliant plot device), and the next day, a premeditated murder attempt is accidentally foiled but it injures Iris and pairs her with Miss Froy, and then, after the disappearance occurs, the situation becomes more mythic and intriguing, those who clearly see Miss Froy before, all refuse to admit her existence, to the extent Iris begins to question her own rationality, thanks to a prestigious surgeon Dr. Hartz (Lukas) fanning the flames nearby.

The investigation that Iris conducts in search of her friend provides the body of much of this fascinating film, and Iris's musician friend from the hotel joins her for a good portion of it, becoming the second of the two ordinary people involved in extraordinary events in this film.

A bunch of dull characters are waiting at a hotel for a train to arrive .

It all leads up to a climax that, while perhaps implausible, is quite exciting.

[-] Slow paced.

Made in 1938 by Alfred Hitchcock on the eve of his departure to Hollywood, this enjoyable British comedy-thriller contains several features later to recur in Hitch's better-known American films - spying and nasty foreigners; disappearance and switched identity; action on a train; a developing affair between a couple who at first can't stand each other; and some pretty ropey effects and scenery, even for the '30s.

Even if the mystery does not keep one glued, and the performances do impress, there are enough virtues in this early Hitchcock film to make it worth the watch.

The movie leaves open several possible suspects, if there even are any to be, and keeps you juggling on whether the plot revolves around the ordinary being twisted into confusing you, or if it's something supernatural.

Hitchcock populates his story of suspense and spying across nations with a host of fascinating characters making the train journey.

There is an element of propaganda in this film as war is looming in Europe, it is also whimsical as well as being an effective thriller.

A fine movie and an enjoyable cast .

The fact that this film still stands up as both funny and exciting 65 years on is proof of it's quality (especially in these days where excitement is measured in how far special effects have gone since the last blockbuster and comedy measured in the next comic taboo breached).

The story continues until the stuffy, pretentious, oaf-like English on the train become diverted by bumbling and incompetent foreign agents in one of the most pathetic scenes ever in cinema, the Brits, debating the attack itself for 5 minutes in proper English, sit there in front of open windows, with one gun and hold off 24 well armed foreign agents for 20 minutes.

Hitchcock did something else: He cared about the plot, stretched it out and made it elaborately intriguing, and then filled it in with the characters afterwards.

The hotel scenes were rather pointless to the plot.

The sub plots of a couple looking for divorce, of a Doctor and his case, of a Magician all are tuned into the script to make it more engaging.

Intriguing film from Hitchcock .

But - despite all my good will to become a real movie buff, and give credit to such masterpieces, the honest truth is that through many parts of the movie, i was bored, and I think that any modern movie lover who does not have any aspirations to be a cinematography student, would HAVE to be bored at times.

It's a bit heavy handed, but easy to forgive given the time period in which it was released and the fact that Hitch keeps things so damn entertaining.

Superb, suspenseful, brilliantly funny...

)Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

Exciting Early Hitchcock .

He also had a faint comedic element which made the suspense portions all the more intense.

Finally watched, very enjoyable.

"The Lady Vanishes" was an entertaining movie that certainly falls into the realm of Hitchcock, mainly an innocent person falling into a web of international intrigue.

Once you sit through that, it becomes an engaging mystery-cum-thriller with much to recommend it.

Hitchcock always loved to intertwine suspense, comedy and romance together; here he serves up all three in a very entertaining dish.

The next morning all of the folks are jam-packed together waiting for the train, getting ready to leave.

The film was made for propaganda purposes to allow the target audience to vilify Germany and Italy.

The Lady Vanishes was in short sublime, it starts off quite lightweight, and then the tone shifts to nail-biting and even more engaging.

While Hitchcock's staging of the straight thriller material was exciting, he seemed as bored as me by the endlessly romantic and explanatory and humorous passages as well as by the juvenile bang- bang-bang climax (such a let-down after all the splendid suspense that had gone before).

His support for the upper Brit classes is especially drab and tedious, meandering between hero worship and idolatry, not to mention the wooden acting of the actors.

The actual story is a spy thriller but thanks to the excellent direction and brilliant acting it becomes the most enjoyable and lighthearted thriller ever.

Very enjoyable, funny, smart dialogue, and a crisp pace.

Wasting the first half on indulgent emptiness (the scene at an Austrian Hotel where the boring Brits are talking about Cricket and drinking tea), he then goes on to flabbergast us with indecipherable montages that are the most rank and absurd creations, the fight scene in the baggage cart for example.

Early Hitchcock classic both funny and thrilling .

The plot is absorbing, the dialogue clever and the cast great.

As the story unfolded, it got more intriguing.

Has a wonderful light mood for most of the film which makes the unexpected final in the woods all that more suspenseful.

Although he was usually more concerned with suspense, for these purposes Hitchcock proved he was adept at stirring the audiences emotions, and this is surely one of the most rousing "get ready" films of the era.

Or are we supposed recognize the intrigue as the self-aggrandizing fantasy of her contemptibly bored, aristocratic mind?

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.

Traveling a great distance on a comfortable train (as opposed to hobo sling or empty reefer) is still the most exciting and satisfying way to do it.

Though the narrative veers towards silliness, it's still compelling and well-constructed.

Anyway, the movie is plenty enjoyable apart from the conjectures I've offered.

The pacing is a little slow in the beginning, and the plot stretches itself a little too thin.

All in all, if you can deal with a slow start and a veddy British atmosphere, by all means rent this movie!

The film's finale is rather action packed once the truth is revealed.

Overall this may be part of the British films that are seen as enabling Hitchcock to go on to bigger and better things, but I must say that I love this film and feel it is one of his most enjoyable pieces.

Overall an enjoyable film that is a must see for Hitchcock fans.

The story (which starts a little slow and confusing) eventually picks up once they reach the train, and that is when I really started to enjoy the movie.

This film is a bit ridiculous in parts, but the story is compelling.

Like The Man Who Knew Too Much this suffers a bit from slightly excessive exposition, though it's more entertaining this time 'round, and more obviously significant to the story to come.

It's exciting and frenetic and feels very modern in its depiction of a showdown of sorts.

OK suspense film with some propaganda .

It is nevertheless a cracking thriller and a hugely entertaining film.

This is a slow film, a little too slow for my liking at times, but once it properly gets going there's enough to keep the viewer interested in what's happening until the end.

Still, this an enjoyable film, well worth watching for movie fans.

She tries to convince fellow passengers that something strange is going on, but has an uphill battle until the exciting climax of the film.

A real masterpiece of early talkie cinema on a suspenseful subject, not to be missed.

"The Lady Vanishes" is an intelligently structured and non-stop fascinating mystery, chock-full of contrast.

Quite action packed too, especially towards the end.

It is also the beginning in a cycle of wartime propaganda films which Hitch would continue into his Hollywood career.

This is a perfect film in every way, still just as magical and entertaining an experience as it was in November 1938, when it was released to great success on both sides of the Atlantic, becoming the biggest hit film ever produced in Britain up to that time.

An exquisitely crafted, heart-warmingly entertaining Hitchcock film!

It all makes for a very compelling mystery.

While the obsessions between this film and "Vertigo" are vastly different, they are both nevertheless engaging.

The film is very entertaining—as charming as reading Herge's Tin Tin comics.

Lockwood is really good as the panicky woman, Redgrave is also appealing as her charming accomplice, and Witty is alright with her time as the dotty old woman, more than anything it is a gripping conspiracy story that keeps you hooked because you know all the characters are lying and you wonder how and where the vanishing lady is going to turn up, a great classic thriller.

The last twenty or so minutes are just a muddle of partly predictable, partly unpredictable - but always silly - plot twists, silly dialog, absurd situations, etc. Basically, the last twenty minutes are a bit of a mess.

These days we expect from a "Horror/Action" movie a lot of things, a fast going pace that will brace us, along with the all the effects to make us get excited ( disregarding the fact that most Horror/Action have become so mundane to make oneself want to kill himself ).

The script is consistently witty and there's a whole host of well defined, engaging characters that play against each other perfectly.

Magnificent Hitchcock film with sure visual flair and exciting set pieces .

But one doesn't watch this movie for a history lesson - THE LADY VANISHES is one of the all-time great pieces of cinematic entertainment, as fresh, witty, exciting and pleasing today as it was 70 years ago.

Deliciously Entertaining And Witty Hitchcock Effort .

A briskly enjoyable Hitchcock .

In fact, the whole movie in itself is not only engaging, but absorbing.

You come back to your compartment with her and doze off.

Then, out of the blue, the story shifts into high gear and it becomes a very, very suspenseful and exciting film--with a breakneck speed and excellent performances by all.

There's a propaganda aspect to the film that goes beyond some posters visible in the dining car – of the 2 couples who knowingly deny the old lady's presence, one couple (the 2 male cricket fans) eventually become active defenders of the "lady" and the train, while the man in the adulterous relationship says it's madness to fight the foreigners (basically thinly disguised Nazis), runs out of the train and gets killed.

As predictable as the shooting of the "nun" (yes, that's right: the "nun" who inexplicably switched sides, just for the fun of it.

Gilbert's infectious insouciance is admirably contrasted with Iris's single-minded severity, and the resulting blend provides a wonderful counterpoint to the taut suspense that propels the action-- somewhat reminiscent of the engaging repartee between hand-cuffed Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in "The Thirty Nine Steps".

One of Hitchcock's most enjoyable British films, "The Lady Vanishes" has an exciting plot, a lot of humor, and a host of entertaining characters.

As this bizarre story plays itself out, the WWII propaganda becomes so thick that you can cut it with a knife.

Great film, very entertaining and very, very English.

Hitchcock (and you never know with him) creates a multi-sided movie (superb, suspenseful, brilliantly funny), extending the power of stereotypes by caricaturing itself, making the audience express with laughter, and in a way they forget that they have just accepted some unpleasant tasting medicine...