Alfred Hitchcock – The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Though over time it has become a bit boring, this film nonetheless remains pleasant to watch again every once in a while. Emile Boreo, for example, is a wonderfully multilingual hotel manager. There are improbabilities: easy passenger access to the baggage car, fustian psychoanalysis from a Prague doctor; and instances of visual dullness: the train on the curve of the tracks, the matte of the Swiss ski resort, the film loops of the countryside seen through the train windows. And I did wonder how the train crossed west from Switzerland through a totalitarian country, instead of France, unless the route required traversing a portion of Germany to reach the safe haven of Luxembourg or Belgium. Totalitarianism, if not vanquished, at least does not win out. The hero, to his credit, is a clarinetist. And as to the vanished lady, Miss Froy, her name and sunny demeanour reminded me recurrently of the tenor solo in Beethoven’s ninth symphony.

Still from The Lady Vanishes (Courtesy: www.criterion.com)

Still from The Lady Vanishes (Courtesy: http://www.criterion.com)

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