Movie Monday: The Lady Vanishes 1938
Iris was enjoying one last hurrah with her friends before mournfully boarding an international train that was to take her away to a boring life of wedlock. Little did she know what sort of adventure was just about to unfold!
While bidding her farewells, Iris helps a little old lady at the train station, only to be conked on the head by something falling from the window above her. With a sore head, Iris says goodbye to her friends as the old lady promises to take care of her and make sure she is okay.
Iris and the little old lady, Miss Froy, end up bonding over tea and make plans to share lunch together. But after a short nap, Iris awakes to find Miss Froy has disappeared, and nobody on the train seems to think the kind old lady ever existed. Lost in confusion and with a bump on her head, Iris insists something terrible must have happened to Miss Froy, but will anybody believe her, or is she just delusional?
This Alfred Hitchcock movie has a few of my favorite elements you can expect from the master of suspense, but filmed in the 1930s, really did a lot to set the tone for his future work. What’s a good suspenseful thriller without a little comic relief? The early scenes in The Lady Vanishes are peppered with humor, pushing the envelope with sexual undertones, and also perfectly introducing the cast of characters that play such integral parts in the unfolding of the mystery ahead. You have your smart, beautiful lady in distress, your wry, witty hero, the bumbling fools(s), and the eccentric, enigmatic stranger. Hitchcock’s talent for connecting a crazy plot with the everyday movie goer comes through in this early film. Just suppose next time you get on a train, something just as extraordinary (if not absurd) could happen to you!