The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Genre: Mystery Thriller Drama (UK)
Starring: Margaret Lockwood (Night Train to Munich; The Man In Grey) Michael Redgrave (The Dam Busters; The Way To The Stars)
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Rear Window; I Confess)
Acting: Fantastic. Everyone is so focussed in their self that the story allows itself to unfold in such a way that you realize that selfishness is an integral theme to this film. If the performances weren't so comically self-centered, this could have easily fallen apart. By now we all should know how professional Hitchcock is in this department. I'm not surprised.
Cinematography: I would say there's only a couple sights worth mentioning. When our prying lady investigator gets bopped over the head, there's this interesting dizzying kaleidoscopic effect, even if it's simple to do. The other fun thing to watch was the freight car with everyone's cluttered luggage, the magic equipment and that cute little calf. I'm glad the story itself was as engrossing as it was since the visuals weren't the reason for coming out. Criterion might have made a gorgeous print, but what they cleaned up wasn't the genius I expected from this man.
Script: This is what this film is all about. Without a fantastic script, this movie wouldn't be on must see lists or on IMDB's top 250 films list. This story is intricate enough, simple enough and funny enough to keep one entertained, and the wit is top-notch. I thought it started off a little too slow for my liking, but when the mystery starts it's a good one to follow and try to figure out.
Plot: The story really begins, yet all too slowly, when our little adventuress learns that her travelling companion is nowhere to be found. She starts asking around and one thing escalates to another and the premise quickly becomes, "did I imagine all of this?" The best part is that if you think about it you can solve a lot, but the story changes enough as you go along that even if you figure everything out, there's still an exciting story unfolding too. My big problem with this was the ultra-abrupt ending, much like The 39 Steps did. I guess if you make a blockbuster, you might as well end the next blockbuster the same way...hell, it's a classic, who am I to judge? Oh right, my site.
Mood: Ultimately I was disappointed. When I saw Treasure Of The Sierra Madre or Onibaba, I knew I was watching a movie that was worth seeing, and perhaps hopefully even something I'd really like, but I held no great expectation. This was the opposite. I expected to find something gorgeous and great, full of intrigue and mystery. Not so much. Yes, it's a classic film, but the beginning was far too slow to suck me in, and the end too stunted to draw me out.
Hubba Hubba, she makes things appear, if you know what I mean...
Overall Rating: 78% (???)
Aftertaste: So I've come to a conclusion about what Hitchcock's mastery was in his early days. It's obvious that he's big on directing the actors as well as possible because the roles are always really well done, but more than anything he's big on lighting, German Expressionistically so...
Oh and I was the one who found Hitchcock's cameo in this one. That made me happy. He was walking along and doing this funny goofy neck thing...