Instant Classic

Paramount Theatre's Summer 2000 Series

THE LADY VANISHES (1938)

D: Alfred Hitchcock; with Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty, Cecil Parker, Linden Travers (PG, 97 min.)

If you need to vanish, do it like Dame May Whitty does: with panache, a bit of worldly humor, and the tendency to always return in the most beguiling, befuddling ways. Bound for her home in the UK, elderly governess Whitty suddenly disappears. The young woman she strikes up a cordial acquaintanceship with on the train (Lockwood) is distraught when she suddenly can't find her. Then again, there's that nasty blow to the head Lockwood experiences and the nagging fact that none of the other passengers on the train seem to recall a doting, elderly English governess; you'd think they'd never seen one in their entire lives. Hitchcock's world-weary humor undergirds this slightly melodramatic mystery and grounds Hitchcock's occasional tendency to let his ensemble cast crumble into its many parts. By the end, though, everything comes together -- after all, a mannerly English governess who likes to vanish knows she must always make a return visit. (8/23-34)

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