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A 1938 film starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave, The Lady Vanishes is arguably the last great film directed by Alfred Hitchcock before he went off to Hollywood. After receiving a nasty bump on the head, Iris (Lockwood) meets Miss Froy, a nice middle-aged lady on board a train travelling through Bandrika, a fictional country somewhere in central Europe. They get on nicely for a while, when suddenly... the lady vanishes (what a twist). Iris and the caddish-yet-loveable Gilbert (Redgrave) promptly try to locate her - but nobody seems to remember seeing Miss Froy. Did Iris just make her up? Or is there foul play at work?
All right, there is foul play. But there's also a Screwball Comedy relationship between Iris and Gilbert. And two hilariously over-the-top Englishmen. This is probably one of Hitchcock's nicer films - think The 39 Steps.
Tropes that occur in this film include:
- Apathetic Citizens: Half the people who say they never saw Ms. Froy aren't even part of the conspiracy, they just don't want to get involved for reasons of their own.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Dr. Hartz.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The guitar player near the beginning.
- Creator Cameo: Hitchcock of course. He pops up for a few seconds at the station at the end.
- Doomed Defeatist: Todhunter, who also proves to be Too Dumb to Live.
- Ho Yay: This could also count as Getting Crap Past the Radar, because Caldicott and Charters appear to be a couple in every sense but the stated one. They not only share a room, but a bed (which at least one of them doesn't bother wearing a shirt in), and are paralyzed with fear by the maid's advances.
- Heel Face Turn: The nun.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: With three exceptions--the train conductors die from one bullet each, and Todhunter makes himself too convenient a target.
- MacGuffin: The tune that Ms. Froy teaches Gilbert is actually a coded message that we never learn the significance of.
- The Remake: By Hammer ( yes, that Hammer) in 1979. It bombed spectacularly.
- Unofficially, the Jodie Foster film Flightplan bears quite a few similarities.
- Ruritania: Bandrinka.
- Serious Business: Murder, disappearances, soldiers with guns, ho hum. But if Caldicott and Charters can't find out today's cricket scores? Really, that's too much!
- Those Two Guys: Caldicott and Charters.
- Which became Those Two Actors for Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne. Not only did they reprise their roles two years later in Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich), but they appeared together (as differently-named but virtually identical characters) in numerous other film and radio productions over the next few years.
- Thriller on the Express
- You Imagined It: Iris gets this from just about everyone over Ms. Froy's disappearance.