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The Lady Vanishes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1938)

Margaret Lockwood , Michael Redgrave , Alfred Hitchcock  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
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The Lady Vanishes (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The 39 Steps (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Man Who Knew Too Much (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Price for all three: $75.67

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Product Details

  • Actors: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker
  • Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Format: Blu-ray, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ND87JU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,783 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack

Crook's Tour, a 1941 feature-length adventure film

Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder

Excerpts from Francois Truffaut's 1962 audio interview with Alfred Hitchcock

Mystery Train, a video essay about Hitchcock and The Lady Vanishes

Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art

PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Geoffrey O'Brien and Charles Barr


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Alfred Hitchcock had hit his early, near-flawless stride by the time of The Lady Vanishes, the 1938 classic that seems as bright and funny now as the day it was released. After the deliciously comic opening reels at a mittel-European hotel where a train has been snowed in, the plot kicks into gear: a very nice old lady (Dame May Whitty) suddenly disappears in mid-train ride. Worse, the young woman (Margaret Lockwood) who'd befriended her can't find anybody to confirm that the lady ever actually existed. Luckily, suave gadabout Michael Redgrave is at the ready--to say nothing of two English cricket fans, brought to memorable life by Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne. The film bops along briskly, borne along on the charm of the players and the witty script by expert craftsman Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat (who also did the delightful Green for Danger and the St. Trinian's films), to say nothing of Hitchcock's healthy sense of humor about the whole thing--indeed, it may be the most "British" of his films. --Robert Horton

On the DVD
This two-disc package is the second time Lady has been issued by Criterion, and features a (visually and aurally) improved transfer of the film. It retains a commentary from the earlier release, but adds tasty extras: a half-hour documentary from Leonard Leff (standard stuff, but a nice intro to Hitchcockian ideas), plus a 10-minute audio excerpt from Francois Truffaut's legendary book-length interview with Hitch. This is not only a good way to hear Hitchcock on The Lady Vanishes, it's a fascinating ringside seat at an important moment in film history. And then there's Crook's Tour, a fun 1941 feature comedy vehicle for Charters and Caldicott, the two characters played by Radford and Wayne (they'd been such a hit in The Lady Vanishes that audiences demanded more of them, leading to a long-term teaming in film and radio). All good--but Lady itself is the ride you'll be returning to again and again. --Robert Horton

Product Description

In Alfred Hitchcock’s most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood (Night Train to Munich), traveling across Europe by train, meets a charming spinster (Dame May Whitty, Suspicion), who then seems to disappear into thin air. The younger woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure. Also starring Michael Redgrave (The Browning Version), The Lady Vanishes remains one of the great filmmaker’s purest delights.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Lady September 5, 2007
Format:DVD
This 1937 comic thriller is one of the first great masterpieces of Alfred Hitchcock. Based on Ethel Lina White's novel, THE WHEEL SPINS, it mixes laughs and chills better than just about any other film, before or since. A nervous bride-to-be (beautiful Margaret Lockwood) meets a sweet elderly woman (the magnificent Dame May Whitty) on a train bound through Europe to London just before WWII. Also aboard: a roguish musicologist (Michael Redgrave), a pair of adulterers (Cecil Parker and Linden Travers), a smooth German doctor (Paul Lukas), two delightfully fussy cricket fans (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne), and a mysterious nun (Catherine Lacy) wearing sexy high heels under her habit. When the old lady disappears from the moving train, the young heroine investigates, and everyone else aboard insists that she is mistaken--there never was any old lady....

I can think of no higher tribute to Hitchcock than the fact that so many recent hit films are virtual remakes of his classic gems. DISTURBIA is REAR WINDOW recast with modern teens, and the 2005 Jodie Foster thriller, FLIGHTPLAN, was an unofficial remake of THE LADY VANISHES with an airliner standing in for the train--right down to the famous "fingerprint on the window." Why do modern filmmakers keep imitating the Master's films? See for yourself. This new, 2-disc reissue from Criterion has a lot of extras and a newly remastered print of the film itself. It's a must for fans and newcomers alike. Highly Recommended.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Budget Release Meets/Exceeds Expectations May 4, 2004
Format:DVD
First the usual warnings: caveat emptor, you get what you pay for, etc. etc. etc., yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah. With that out of the way, let me say that getting these three early Hitchcock films at such a low price is an extremely good deal. Sure they're blurry in parts and there are occasional picture/sound glitches, but nothing really interferes with either the storytelling or the suspense, which is really why you're watching them in the first place.

Let me add that the four-star rating is for the DVD as a whole. None of the films are presented at four-star quality (The Lady Vanishes is maybe three-and-a-half), but the fact that you get three movies instead of one or two bumps the score from average to slightly-above.

The Man Who Knew Too Much is the oldest of the three movies and its print and sound quality are the most deteriorated. Nevertheless, the symphony scene and the final gunfight retain their suspensefulness. The movie holds its own against the 1956 remake; Leslie Banks is no Jimmy Stewart, but at least Edna Best doesn't sing.

Secret Agent features a young John Gielgud, only a year or two out of short pants, I'm sure. Peter Lorre steals the show here, however, as an assassin or curious nationality. Of the three, I felt this was the least Hitchcockian in comparison with his later - and greater - work. It works on a psychological level, like his very-early Blackmail, rather than building the suspense of the other two films on this DVD or terror of Psycho or The Birds. The "self-translating" cypher notes are a nice effect; the spinning bowls and train crash are nice attempts at special effects that fall a little short of the mark.

The Lady Vanishes is the most recent of these films, and sports the best sound and picture.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cinematic Masterpiece August 5, 2000
Format:DVD
There's one thing that movies can do better than any other artistic medium. It's having you experience something from a character's point of view, and then having every other character in the movie say it never happened. Your empathy as a viewer is at its highest pitch: you saw what happened with your own eyes, and so you see it through the character's eyes as well, but then everyone denies it. This is the central scene on the train in THE LADY VANISHES. Nothing, absolutely nothing, in my opinion, is more cinematic than this. When the idea is used to trick the viewer (as in THE USUAL SUSPECTS), it's not as good (although still it's pretty good, because again it uses film in the most empathetic way possible). And when the trickery is fair--as in THE SIXTH SENSE--it can be superb. I rank THE LADY VANISHES right up there with VERTIGO, PSYCHO, and REAR WINDOW, as Hitchcock's greatest gifts to us, the moviegoers of the world. I would even add SHADOW OF A DOUBT to this pantheon. The thing I admire most about Hitchcock is that he was attracted to stories that showed what film could do as an art form. His best movies, in their different ways, display this for us. The movies I've mentioned would not be as good as novels or plays--and this is saying a great deal. It's a test, as a matter of fact, of what separates the film as an art medium from other artistic forms. The two directors who knew this best were Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney. It would be so terrific if someone were to come along someday who could be said to be their equal. Bottom line: THE LADY VANISHES is one of the best movies you will ever see, but please, it works at a slower pace than today's movies, so let it sink in for you, don't be in a hurry, EXPERIENCE it!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So very Whitty November 24, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Criterion has just released the new 2-disc transfer of 1938's "The Lady Vanishes", Alfred Hitchcock's last great British effort; filmed just before he was swallowed-up by David O. Selznick and Hollywood. Just before the war, the beautiful young Iris(Margaret Lockwood), traveling across Europe by train, meets the governess Miss Froy(Dame May Whitty), a charming old spinster, who promptly disappears into thin air. In fact, no one even recalls having seen the old lady aboard the train. Iris turns sleuth, and soon finds herself drawn into a complex murder-mystery and robust adventure. The fictitous country where most of the story takes place is named in the movie by Miss Froy in her first scene: "Bandrika is one of Europe's few undiscovered corners". "The Lady Vanishes" is a love story, two daffy, English gents, and two car-loads of Nazi's, all tossed together in a quick-witted, devilish comic thriller. Droll English humor keeps the proceedings moving along. In one scene, Iris complains: "Hello, Boris? Miss Henderson speaking. Look, someone upstairs is playing musical chairs with an elephant. Move one of them out, will you? I want to get some sleep". A remarkable cast includes Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lucas, and Dame May Whitty. As the redoubtable Miss Froy, Whitty easily steals the entire film. The final sequence is just short of perfect. Dame May Whitty died at age 82 from cancer in Beverly Hills, shortly after her scenes in the movie "The Sign of the Ram(1948)". She once said, "I've got everything Betty Grable has...only I've had it longer". Modestly budgeted, "The Lady Vanishes" was shot on studio stages, and relied on miniatures, rear-projection, stock footage, transparencies, and one ninety-foot-long railroad set. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great as always!
Published 1 day ago by Lola P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock at his best. He weaves his storyline in and out
Hitchcock at his best. He weaves his storyline in and out, up and down, even removing the script from the table and leaving you, out there to hang, with your thoughts, your... Read more
Published 4 days ago by DIGITALSHOOTER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you for your helping hands!Everything went perfectly well.
Published 22 days ago by bartleby
5.0 out of 5 stars The 39 Steps All Over Again.
Viewed: 6/14
Rate: 9

6/14: At the beginning of The Lady Vanishes, there is a great deal of Grand Hotel about it before segueing to the next part by getting on the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Austin Somlo
4.0 out of 5 stars another WW who-dun-it
I love these old movies. I was truly amazed when I saw this movie for the first time...which was only a couple of months ago on TCM. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Kroeckel
5.0 out of 5 stars More fun than a barrel of monkeys!
The visual quality of the film is excellent and I love the slider at the bottom of the Amazon Instant series which allows you to easily repeat any portion of the movie you want to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. B. Sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars Classis British mystery/comedy.
The Lady Vanishes is a great period piece. Look for Hitchcock in the train station at the end of the movie.
Published 3 months ago by michael turnbull
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch at his best
This should definitely be in one's Hitch collection. The picture looks good and the audio commentary is well worth the price.
Published 4 months ago by H. Vellos
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Delightful Hitchcock Blends Suspense and Comic Relief
What if you were on a European train with a sweet elderly woman of English descent, and suddenly, she was nowhere to be seen? Read more
Published 4 months ago by classicalsteve
5.0 out of 5 stars People Don't Just Disappear Off Trains
Based upon Ethel Lina White’s novel, THE WHEEL SPINS, THE LADY VANISHES was Alfred Hitchcock’s final film that he directed in England before permanently migrating to the United... Read more
Published 5 months ago by tvtv3
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