Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Lady Vanishes

1938 - Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Shown at The FeckenOdeon on January 25th, 2003

Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" takes us off to the fictional country of Bandrika (which seems to be a thinly disguised stand-in for nazi-controlled Austria, so recently annexed by Hitler's Germany) aboard a train during the uncertain years which lead to the second world war. Dame May Whitty plays a charming elderly lady travelling back to England and who, quite inexplicably, vanishes -just like that! Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave take it upon themselves to investigate - and, just when you think that this is going to be a rather ordinary melodrama, Hitchcock cranks up the suspense and it's edge of the seat time!
Like many of the best films this is a bit of an accident. It was originally to be called "Lost Lady" and was all set to roll when the original director fell ill. Hitch stepped in with cast and crew already chosen and the result was a meticulously crafted classic. The script is by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat who worked together throughout a writing career which spanned over forty years and included "Oh Mr Porter" and this season's opening film "The Happiest Days of Your Life". The redoubtable Dame May Whitty first appeared on screen in 1914 and made her final appearance just before her death in 1948

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