Intrigue and espionage abound when soon-to-be-married English tourist Iris (Margaret Lockwood) boards a transcontinental express train back to England and strikes up an acquaintance with elderly English governess Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty), who then disappears without a trace. With the help of a besotted musicologist (Michael Redgrave), Iris turns amateur sleuth to get to the bottom of the mystery?
Alfred Hitchcock once said that a train was his favourite setting for a movie because they offer such a perfect venue for generating suspense. This 1938 comedy thriller, made at the legendary Gainsborough Studios in Islington, north London, is his most famous mystery film, and one of the pre-war features that helped pave his way to Hollywood.
Packed with twisty plots, a great sense of very British humour, and eccentric characters – courtesy of a great ensemble cast – The Lady Vanishes contains all the hallmarks of what would become Hitchcock’s stock-in-trade. Indeed, it’s so accomplished that it still holds up today, even the model train, studio sets and miniatures have a charm about them that’s hard not to like. This is vintage cinema magic – Hitchcock style.
THE UK BLU-RAY RELEASE
The Lady Vanishes is available on Blu-ray in the UK from 19 January, as part Network Distristributing’s The British Film collection, and is featured in a brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. The special features include an introduction by film historian Charles Barr, original theatrical trailer, image gallery and pdf promotional material. These are also included on Network’s DVD 1008 release. A US Blu-ray version was brought out by the Criterion Collection in 2011.