The Lady Vanishes, 1938

The beginning of this movie introduces several ladies. I always try to figure out who will be doing what before it happens, but I couldn’t tell right away who was going to vanish. However, I did see the beginnings of a romance and a few other forewarning details. The good thing about this movie is that it didn’t give away too much.

In a nutshell, the title is the plot. A lady disappears and is searched for. The bad guys hope the lady isn’t found. They hope the person looking for the lady gives up with a shrug and says, “Oh well. I tried.” But they didn’t plan for the persistence in the woman searching. Of course the bad guys lie about their involvement. That only makes the woman searching more determined to find someone who will believe the truth.

Very well directed by Alfred Hitchcock, most of this story takes place on a train. There are very few places in which a lady can be hidden on a train, but many places to search. It was funny seeing the perspectives of innocent bystanders (two guys chatting about cricket) and how they chose to either participate or not.

 I enjoyed Michael Redgrave’s performance as Gilbert, which was his film debut. He made his character likable, even though others thought he was self-absorbed, arrogant, or unpleasant at times. When he gives a woman the benefit of the doubt, he finds there are benefits to believing the truth.

Dame May Whitty’s role was important to the story, so casting her in that role was a very good decision. She’s been fabulous in every film I’ve seen her in, and she was fabulous here too.

Another bonus in this film is the word indubitably used in dialogue. Don’t you love hearing that word in a film? It usually makes me laugh. Aside from the comedic moments, this was a well-written, suspenseful movie.

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