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The Lady Vanishes (1979) HD online

The Lady Vanishes (1979) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Action / Comedy / Mystery / Romance / Thriller
Original Title: The Lady Vanishes
Director: Anthony Page
Writers: George Axelrod,Sidney Gilliat
Released: 1979
Duration: 1h 37min
Video type: Movie
On a train traveling through pre-WW II Germany, American heiress Amanda Kelly befriends a Miss Froy, an older nanny. But when Miss Froy disappears, everyone Amanda asks denies ever having seen her. Eventually Amanda persuades American photographer Robert Condon to help her search the train, during which they discover that Miss Froy wasn't quite what she seemed.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Elliott Gould Elliott Gould - Robert
Cybill Shepherd Cybill Shepherd - Amanda
Angela Lansbury Angela Lansbury - Miss Froy
Herbert Lom Herbert Lom - Dr. Hartz
Arthur Lowe Arthur Lowe - Charters
Ian Carmichael Ian Carmichael - Caldicott
Gerald Harper Gerald Harper - Todhunter
Jenny Runacre Jenny Runacre - Mrs. Todhunter
Jean Anderson Jean Anderson - Baroness
Madlena Nedeva Madlena Nedeva - Nun
Madge Ryan Madge Ryan - Rose Flood Porter
Rosalind Knight Rosalind Knight - Evelyn Barnes
Vladek Sheybal Vladek Sheybal - Trainmaster
Wolf Kahler Wolf Kahler - Helmut
Barbara Markham Barbara Markham - Frau Kummer

Though Cybill Shepherd only wears one costume in the movie, (a bias-cut white satin dress), the costume department made nine identical copies to facilitate filming.

Bette Davis was offered the role of Miss Froy. Davis told biographer and friend Whitney Stine ("I'd Love to Kiss You ... Conversations with Bette Davis"), "I loved May Whitty in the original, but I don't think the part is quite right for me. She should be a plump, sweet old lady." The part went to Angela Lansbury, who had co-starred with Davis in Tod auf dem Nil (1978).

This was the final Hammer film until Beyond the Rave (2008) 29 years later.

The picture was set in 1939 which was about one year after the original Eine Dame verschwindet (1938) had been released in 1938.

The character of Amanda played by Cybill Shepherd was modeled on screwball comedy actress Carole Lombard.

Jean Anderson was dubbed.

The film was made and released about forty-three years after its source novel "The Wheel Spins" by Ethel Lina White had been first published in 1936.

When first announced, George Segal and Tatum O'Neal were the intended stars.

Second of two late 1970s remakes of Alfred Hitchcock movies from Hitch's English black-and-white 1930s talkies period, this film being a remake of 1938's Eine Dame verschwindet (1938). The first had been 1978's Die 39 Stufen (1978) (a remake of 1935's Die 39 Stufen (1935)).

The film was made and released about forty-one years after the original Alfred Hitchcock film Eine Dame verschwindet (1938).

The film takes place in August 1939.

The name of the publication that photographer Robert (Elliott Gould) worked for was "Life Magazine".

Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Haralem

    There was no need for this movie to be made (but that is true for most remakes). The original is a classic and generally considered the best of Hitchcock's early British films. But if you forget about the comparisons and let this remake stand on its own, it's actually pretty decent: good-looking, beautifully scored, and well-cast, even in the secondary roles. The two leads are likably goofy (they do bring a 70's flavor to these 30's characters, which may or may not be to your taste), and male viewers will be glad to know that Cybill Shepherd spends the entire running time wearing a white dress that reveals her sexy back, arms and shoulders. If I can point one flaw in this movie, it's that the script doesn't build enough ambiguity - even people who don't know the story won't think for a moment that it could all be "in Cybill's head". But it's clear that the intention here was to create a light comedy-mystery, not a suspense classic. (**1/2)
  • avatar

    Ferne

    There's a strong tendency to compare Hitchcock's version of "The Lady Vanishes" with the 1979 version starring Elliot Gould, Cybill Shepherd, and Angela Lansbury. There's no need to do so. Both have the same title but entirely different moods. This doesn't make one "better" or "worse" than the other. They just should be judged on their own merits.

    Both are thrillers, one more somber and tense, and the latter version more of a melodramatic mystery with comedic touches.

    What I would suggest is that the viewer simply watch both versions, recognizing the strong and weak points of each. Both are enjoyable, but to interject a personal note, I tend to lean toward this 1979 version for its tone that's more like other mystery films such as "Charade" or "North By Northwest".

    Enjoy them both as different cinematic expressions and let others worry about comparisons.
  • avatar

    Blackredeemer

    Its inevitable that this would be compared to Hitchcock's 1938 original but for me there are many pleasures to be had in this elegant comedy-thriller. Douglas Slocombe's Panavision photography is wonderful and the playing of all involved is beautifully poised. George Axelrod's reworking of Sidney Gilliat's screenplay adds a nice screwball touch with his one-liners and Ian Carmichael and Arthur Lowe as the cricket-obsessed British tourists add humanity to their chauvinistic bullishness. And as a self-confessed Angela Lansbury fan I of course relished her depiction of Miss Froy. On a big cinema screen this looks terrific.
  • avatar

    Vizil

    The story is silly -- well, preposterous really, but it's great fun.

    I agree that the Shepherd and Gould are a bit tiresome and overdone, but in fact, on the whole, they're fun too.

    The best feature of the film is Angela Lansbury. She is brilliant as the nanny, catching every nuance with perfection, and should have had some kind of award for her performance.

    The cricket fans are good and Gerald Harper is also convincing and chilling as the hard-hearted adulterer.

    It is refreshing to see a film where there are no computer effects, and where real locations are used. I don't think we'll see too many films made this way again.
  • avatar

    Mash

    I haven't seen the original but I watched this with 1 hour delay on two channels simultaneously, I was at home with a cold at the time and feeling very sorry for myself. Anyway, if you would just put the two leads aside for a moment (although Eliot Gould was SO cute in the movie and Cybil Shepperd did the visual pun of Marilyn Monroe on the air vent very well when she gets out of the train...) The thing I really liked about this film were the characters of Charters and Caldicott - they made me laugh hysterically - there they are drinking tea - understating this understating that - then suddenly.....they are really terrific minor characters. I would love a whole film on those two. Very affectionate look at English manners. ARTHUR LOWE MADE ME FORGET HOW ILL I FELT!
  • avatar

    Felolune

    Almost all the ingredients are present for this to be a charming and colorful remake of an Alfred Hitchcock classic: stunning scenery, lovely music and talented behind-the-scenes craftspeople. Unfortunately, a pair of anachronistic lead actors does everything but sink it. Shepherd plays an American heiress in the late 1930's, continually marrying and divorcing as part of a plan to glean her inheritance. From Bavaria, en route to London, she boards a train, still hung over from a night of revelry and wearing her evening gown. A kindly nanny (Lansbury) takes her under her wing, inviting her to lunch and seeing that she gets a nap during the long trip. When Shepherd awakes, Lansbury is gone and what's more, no one will admit to ever having seen her! Gould, a magazine photographer, begins to assist Shepherd, never quite sure if she has actually seen this woman or if she's hallucinating after a drunken night that continued into a tipsy morning. The duo is also aided by doctor Lom. Practically everyone else seems in on some grand conspiracy to cover up Lansbury's existence. Gould and Shepherd delve further and further into the mystery as the danger escalates. Despite her presence in other non-contemporary films such as "Daisy Miller" (another flop), Miss Shepherd has no business acting in a period piece. Though she does look nice in her dress, her manner is far too brusque and her carriage is far too contemporary to pull off playing someone from another era. Apart from that, her horrible, flat voice is completely at odds with the material and she simply can't muster up any enthusiasm for the proceedings. At one point, Gould accuses her of being hysterical and yet she's just as sedate and unexcited as she was before. Her makeup looks, at times, clownish, with all the highlighter applied under her eyes paired with bright blush. Gould, another actor who should only be cast in present day projects, gives into one concession for his period role. He parts his unruly hair and tries to mush it down. Otherwise he, too, is all wrong for this time and setting, though at least he attempts to give a performance. They share precious little chemistry and their misguided performances threaten at all times to derail the movie. Lansbury offers up a characterization that would soon become very familiar to viewers of "Murder She Wrote", as her work here and that of the early years of the TV series are quite similar. Lom is dependably solid. Old pros Lowe and Carmichael ably portray a couple of cricket-obsessed fussbudgets who alternately help and hinder the investigation. Harper and Runacre are a pair of secretive lovers. Nedeva does well in a small role as a nun. Some exquisitely beautiful Austrian scenery helps add a bit of luster to the film, but it's not enough to plug all the holes. While the plot line is creaky (and has been used in countless other films and TV shows), it would still be irresistible if not for the jarring presence of the two leads. Fans of theirs will be far more forgiving, but those who like a little class and authenticity in their films will be put off by their frequently obnoxious characterizations.
  • avatar

    Andromathris

    Remake of a British 1938 Michael Redgrave film with Dame Mae Witty and Margaret Lockwood. The 1979 version, done as a Cybill Shepherd and Elliott Gould vehicle, pushes mainly its comedic/farcical elements instead of it being s legitimate mystery itself. The political intrigues and treacheries of the years between the First and Second World Wars made a better basis for the 1938 film than the 1979 film had. Alfred Hitchcock had still been in Britain when his 1938 film was made. Hitchcock had a sure hand utilizing the looming dangers and unease of the time, just one year prior to Britain's actual 1939 entry into WWII. The 1979 film isn't rotten but it simply doesn't hold up when weighed against Hitchcock's original. If you watch the 1979 movie, do so expecting a comedy not a mystery, and do so before you ever have seen the Hitchcock version.
  • avatar

    blac wolf

    Ugh! What a mess! Only Angela Lansbury among the major cast members stands out. Cybill Shepherd seems to have the "madcap" part down, but too often she is merely silly rather than funny. As for Elliott Gould, he seems completely miscast, and acts as if he wandered in from another movie. This is hardly an improvement of -- or even an enlightening insight into -- the Hitchcock original. Only intermittently entertaining, but, by all means, see it if you're a Lansbury fan : she's wonderful!
  • avatar

    Naa

    Much as I like and possess the DVD of the original Hitchcock version, this remake is a much better job. It avoids many of the tedious moments of the original film, especially during the first half hour or so in the hotel, and introduces a lot more humour. I mean Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael are nothing short of EXCELLENT, far funnier than the tedious idiots of the original. In addition we have better sound quality, superb picture quality, an extremely sexy Cybill Sheppard and a BEAUTIFUL sound track !! What more could you ask. I know little about the main mail character Elliot Gould and indeed found his performance the least interesting, but this is more than compensated for by the other performances. The Nazi Helmut played his role very well and rendered himself thoroughly dislikeable. And I have always loved Angela Lansbury in whatever rôle I have seen her. This is good quality cinematic entertainment from 1979, without special effects, something which is in very short supply in these initial years of the twenty first century. Thank God it's been issued on a DVD !
  • avatar

    Urtte

    Angela Lansbury plays a nanny turned spy who is attempting to get back to Britain with some vital information. Set in Pre-WWII Germany this movie chronicles the trip of Cybill Shepherds character back to the UK to be reunited with her fiancé. On the train she befriends Ms. Froy and another American (played by Elliott Gould). However, things go awry when Ms. Froy seemingly vanishes into thin air and nobody on the train seems to have any memory of her. Is Shepherds character losing her marbles? - Gould certainly seems to think so...that is until he spots something out of the train window for a fleeting second. Its a superb story and very satisfying. I really enjoy this charming thriller.
  • avatar

    Dianalmeena

    This film is just a horrible remake of the classic 1938 original by Alfred Hitchcock which contains a first class cast from top to bottom and superior editing and cinematography. Cybil Shepherd is amazingly terrible and completely unconvincing in the lead role. Do not waste your time renting and watching this flick. Find the original in the Criterion version and enjoy a great and suspenseful yarn that will live forever.
  • avatar

    Nuliax

    I only wished this remake would have done the vanishing!

    Awful remake of the classic Hitchcock suspense thriller that is marred by the idiotic casting of Gould and Shephard, who spend most of their time turning the mystery into laughs. Lansbury breathes the most life into the film as Miss Froy.
  • avatar

    Vut

    In an overcrowded hotel, many travellers await a train to their destination. Among them is Miss Froy - a school mistress, Robert Condon, a photographer for Life magazine and Amanda Kelly, a socialite on her way to meet her fiancée. When Amanda gets a knock on her head on the train, Miss Froy looks after her. She falls asleep for a while and wakes up to find Miss Froy gone. When she enquires, no one else can remember any such woman being on the train – did she imagine it or is something more sinister afoot?

    Of course it isn't rubbish but no matter how "OK" this film it, it simply isn't comparable to the much, much better Hitchcock original – sadly a statement that I consider true of all aspects of the film. The plot is held as in the original but for this story to work the delivery needs to be good. Hitchcock did it well producing a pacy and enjoyable film that was light but engaging at the same time. Here the film isn't too much longer than the original but my gosh it drags by comparison. The lack of tension was a real surprise to me and the film failed to draw out the mystery – of course I knew it was not in Amanda's head but I do when I watch the original as well – this familiarity doesn't totally account for the lack of tension in the film generally, that is more to do with the lack of urgency and the starry feel of the film generally. Filmed in lush colours and a postcard presentation of Europe the film looks professional but the brightness undercuts the tension yet again. Page generally doesn't do much with the direction to help the material or cast out – it all looks OK but doesn't do that much. Viewers who have not seen the original might enjoy it but anyone coming to it second will struggle to find much added value in this retread.

    Gould and Shepherd both overegg their performances and lean too heavily on the side of humour without doing enough on the side of the mystery. Of course neither of them are helped by their lack of chemistry with one another. There is no spark at all and they generally just bluster around each other. Lansbury is OK as the lady of the title but you can't help feel that she's doesn't really deserve to share the same role as the much better Witty. Lowe and Charmichael dominate with a rerun of the amusing English clichés from the original although Lom is worth a look. The rest of the cast however, just fill in the background without too much effort or style.

    Overall this is a distracting and OK film in its own right but I simply cannot see any reason why any viewer would find this a more worthwhile venture than the original. In every way, from direction and tone through to performances and cinematography, the film is a poor photocopy of the original. If you haven't seen it then you should be watching that; if you have seen it then I don't understand why beyond a morbid sense of curiosity, you'd want to watch this remake.
  • avatar

    Gtonydne

    Always one to buck the trend, I love this film! And has done since it was made. It was the fantastic music to begin with, but it drew me in. Goodness knows why it's taken me such a lengthy time to write this. It's an excellent cast, very well photographed and makes me smile. What's not to like? So, it's different from the 1939 version? Of course it is: there's forty years between them! One isn't better than the other. They're just different. However, any film which makes me smile is a winner in my book. I have it on DVD, but I'm always glad to watch it on the telly. Did I mention I love the music? I wish I could buy that on its own.
  • avatar

    Galanjov

    If you are a weary critic and insist that a remake of the original be more of the same but better, you will be wasting your time on this because it's played more kooky and comic than a suspenseful thriller.

    The movie keeps up a regular stream of witty patter, largely in the dialogue between her and Gould. The English pair of characters who only care about getting home to the cricket are a caricature to be sure, but earn their place. I could not say so much of the abducted Lansbury character, who seems to have graduated from the Dick Van Dyke school of accents. But it hardly matters, because her screen time is barely more than a cameo.

    This is very much Cybill's movie. She looks more beautiful than any mortal woman has a right being. Her performance veering between ditzy and wide-eyed confusion, gives ample time for the viewer to luxuriate for scene after scene in her large eyes... and that decidedly flattering dress. Anybody who already formed an infatuation for her from her long-running role in Moonlighting will not be disappointed.
  • avatar

    Weetont

    There's no need to get excited when you see George Axelrod listed in the credits as the screenwriter, for this is a very tepid remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic which comes off second best in all respects. At least no attempt has been made to update the plot. Unfortunately, it just seems far more ridiculous in color and widescreen. The character changes are also no improvement. Admittedly, the original movie was a bit too talky, but this version positively wallows in inconsequential dialogue. Just about all the roles have been built up with more talk, but there is no corresponding increase in the action sequences, and the direction, alas, is totally unimaginative. Admittedly, some of the action is effectively managed, particularly the fight on board the train, but the climax is run of the mill. The director's main concern is obviously to bring every word of Axelrod's indifferent dialogue to viewers' ears. The actors are also hampered by the director's unimaginative use of close-ups which draw further attention to the weak script. Both Eliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd try hard to overcome all the drawbacks, but with not a great deal of success. In any case, this version is far to long for its thin plot. The colorful photography doesn't help either. It conveys about as much atmosphere and suspense as pink frosting on a butter cake. True, production values are good, but it's the story that counts, not the scenery.
  • avatar

    Mpapa

    First, this shouldn't be compared to the Hitchcock film. They're not the same kind of film, and comparisons are pointless. Both movies are good, in different ways.

    Second, I love Elliot Gould, usually, but in this film he's not good. His normal playful, easy charm is replaced by too much frowny mugging for the camera.

    But Cybill's fabulous. My main criticism is that this is a girl's movie, but Cybill wears the same gown throughout. And she looks gorgeous in it, but if you're going to make a girl film, for goodness' sake, let the girl change her clothes once a week. And she doesn't. But her performance is terrific - she throws herself into the part with enthusiasm and lack of embarrassment, even when she has to do fairly embarrassing things. She's tough and tomboyish and beautiful, really starry. And because of this, the film's just fine. It's a shame the normally sexy Elliot Gould's performance is kind of flat, because he can do so much better. Worth seeing. .
  • avatar

    Xarcondre

    Under-appreciated as it is, this remake of Hitchcock's 1938 classic truly embodies my idea of how a well-crafted and entertaining light movie should be. The story is able to make flesh creep and the screenplay even manages to improve on the original plot line by taking some bold departures, but sticking all the way to the master's spirit and style. (E.g. the very effective motif of the Hitler-moustache - and the whole idea of transferring the story to nazi Germany.) The settings - real train, real land -, the camera work, the music are all great, adding to the thrill of the ride. The cast is a jackpot, Cybill Sheperd throws out sparks. All in all: this is a highly ingenious remake that makes the old original seem pale and puerile by comparison. I'm sure Hitchcock himself wouldn't have done it better as a self-remake. I want this on DVD!!!
  • avatar

    Renthadral

    This movie, as the remake of a classic, could have been a brilliant success, such as "Murder on the Orient Express," and even the spoofy-but-still-compelling "Silver Streak." But the finished product turns out to be more of a comedy than the suspenseful "Who-Dunnit," like the original masterpiece this was supposed to have remade.

    Blame the absurd casting of Elliot Gould, and the horrid direction Sybil Sheppard was given.. Sheppard can be a good actress. But this is one of her more unfortunate performances. As a "madcap heiress," she comes off more like Meg Ryan's "flibberty-jibbet" character in "Joe vs. the Volcano."

    "Much-married, madcap heiress," she corrects Gould in his reprisal of her performance of the night before.

    Gould just isn't Peter Ustinov (or Albert Finney for that matter), which seems to be the men he attempts to mimic. If that is the case, he missed the mark by a country mile. He, in no way, even begins to fill those shoes.

    The European anti-American sentiments are well displayed and conveyed here, and Sheppard's character does little to change that.

    While this is still a fun, suspenseful film, it is nothing like the original in that it captures none of the fantastic suspense lent by Hitchcock's direction. Although the spoof is unintentional, this is more like the "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" version.

    Amanda Kelly (Sheppard) is befriended by the kindly Miss Froy (Angela Landsbury), a motherly type who lends a hand and offers the British solution for most ailments; chicken soup and a nice cup of tea. Kelly dozes off on the train and when she awakens, Miss Froy is absent. The other members of the car in which they are seated, seemingly have no memory of Miss Froy, and they begin to "Gaslight" Kelly.

    Even the waiter who served Miss Froy and Ms. Kelly in the dining car, has no memory of Miss Froy. Indeed, he presents Kelly with a ticket indicating that she paid the bill herself, was alone and unattended.

    Robert Condon (Elliott Gould), also a passenger aboard the train, is somehow whirl-winded into a search for the elusive Miss Froy, and before you know it, he is sleuthing the mystery with Ms. Kelly.

    Where is she, what has happened to Miss Froy, and why? Unfortunately, while this is a fun adventure, it's more funny than fun. It lacks in wit, and your humor is more at the expense of Gould's and Sheppard's performances than the dialog.

    It lacks the intelligence and careful direction of the original. Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" is a much better endeavor, and I highly suggest it in place of this poor remake. Hitchcock must have puked upon seeing this.

    What should have been an epic homage, ended up being a sad parody of a great masterpiece of suspense. While it is still enjoyable, it could have been oh-so-much-more, and was in other versions.

    It rates a 4.3/10 from...

    the Fiend :.
  • avatar

    Kardana

    I like this movie very much. There was a first version of this movie decades before, directed by Hitchcock, but to be sincere, I like this version more. The actors like Herbert Lom and Angela Lansbury gave an excellent performance. And the music score of the film is unforgettable.
  • avatar

    Ienekan

    It would be wrong of me to say that this film is better than the original 1936 Alfred Hitchcock version, because both films do have their own merits.

    Admittedly, this version is in colour and the inevitability of a Second World War is played more topically, but one must remember that in 1938, the prospect of another war was something that was still tentative and the Munich Agreement on the 29th September of that year would have provided some hope with appeasement - controversial as it would have been.

    It was a good idea to change the delightful performance of the lovely Margaret Lockwood to a brash, excitable and more feminist character in the guise of an American heiress (Cybill Shepherd). Changing the male lead to that of American war correspondent (Elliot Gould), instead of a British musician researching European folk compositions, was also a good idea, even though the part in the 1938 film was smartly played by Michael Redgrave, in his debut film role.

    The rest of the casting is very much true to the 1938 version, and all the parts were played beautifully, especially Herbert Lom and Daphne Anderson, playing the Nazi doctor and the politically motivated Baroness.

    Also, I should not forget Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael as the characters of Charters and Caldicot, respectively, who were originally played by Basil Radford and Naughton Wayne in the 1938 version. It should be noted that these two characters were featured in three more films (Night Train to Munich, Crooks Tour and Millions Like Us), and were even featured in a 1985 BBC Television series, where they were played by Robin Bailey and Michael Aldridge.

    It was unusual to see Gerald Harper in a less heroic role as the character of Todhunter, when we are used to seeing him in such roles as Adam Adamant, Hadleigh and various other roles as a more intrepid character. The character was originally played in the 1938 version by the ever-reliable character actor, Cecil Parker.

    All in all, this was a very good and exciting film and I always enjoy it every time I watch it.
  • avatar

    Broadcaster

    On a wet, dreary Sunday I watched both versions of this film more or less back to back, fully expecting to prefer the earlier Hitchcock version (I'm a Hitch fan) yet I was pretty surprised to find it wasn't that straightforward.

    Yes- the earlier version is in many ways more economical in its story telling, rapidly showing the mittelEuropean setting plus avalanche and thus getting straight to the business of the problems at the hotel within 3 minutes (including opening titles) rather than the picturesque but drawn-out opening of the 1979 version. And the editing is often more stylish in its inter-cutting of images of train tracks, wheels and whistles into subtle plot points.

    But such things aside, for me the modern version has an improvement on the original because it uses real history. It's set one year after the original film (1938) and so uses WWII reasons for the plot. The original film was made and set in 1938 and uses preWWI reasons and a fictitious country, highlighting just how separated from real events that movie was. Obviously the writers weren't to know everything in Europe was about to go up in flames, but hindsight inevitably dates the quaint portrayal of incendiary events.

    I found Cybill Shepherd's character gratingly brattish, and nowhere near as charming as Carole Lombard that she was allegedly trying to emulate, but that was as nothing to how annoyingly entitled and arrogant most of the characters were in the 1938 version. Hitchcock may well have been satirising how awful the English are abroad, but he also filled his movie with patronising stereotypes of "funny foreigners" who were treated with varying degrees of disdain by all, even Miss Froy. Charters & Caldicott's treatment of the maid who had to give up her room to them was plain obnoxious.

    There was a good deal of believable warmth and chemistry between Lansbury and Shepherd that was lacking imo between Whitty & Lockwood. And for me, Arthur Lowe can get more dry comedy out of one line, or even one look, than several scenes with Basil Radford.

    "Mrs Todhunter's" motivation for saying she saw Miss Froy is more slickly conveyed in the earlier version, but Herbert Lom's doctor is a more fully realised character in the later one so it came as a better twist for me when we find out what he's really up to.

    For me, Iris & Gilbert gradually bonding over lunch and in the luggage carriage was more endearing than Robert's leering appreciation of Amanda's bra-less figure in a slinky dress, regardless of how alluring she looked in it. And the reason for the nun to switch sides is better hinted at in the 1938 version (because she's English) whereas the 1979 version unnecessarily complicates things by making her married to the doctor who in turn is the aristocratic lady's nephew- all for no story-telling gain.

    Hitchcock also wrings far more tension out of the drugged drinks than happens in the remake, as well as more daft comedy out of the inept fight in the luggage car. However, I did enjoy Amanda & Robert's madcap reactions when they thought they'd been poisoned. Gould is naturally funny; Shepherd occasionally so.

    The shootout is much better acted out in the 1979 version, but changing the male lead's profession from musician to photographer meant that Miss Froy pulling him away from the life-or-death shooting match in order to teach him a vitally important piece of music -instead of teaching just Amanda- didn't make sense; better to have left him being a music specialist and thus having a good reason for pulling him away from a vital shootout. Nor does the modern version even attempt to explain why this tune is important anyway (daft though it is).

    Both films are the same length to within a minute, but the more efficient story-telling in the older version left enough time to include the story line of the officer who boards the train at the shootout, and he adds even greater tension in the final act. What also adds to the final 3 minutes of the original, is delaying the clinch between the two leads until then, rather than Shepherd & Gould making it clear that they're a couple far earlier.

    I loved the musical score of the remake- it really added to the lush feel, along with the gorgeous location shots- and ironically, it reminded me in places of the score to one of Hitchcock's other movies- Marnie.

    So in summary: 1979 photography/scenery >1938

    1979 music >1938

    Angela Lansbury >May Whitty

    Arthur Lowe >Basil Radford

    1979 characters far less obnoxious with foreigners than 1938

    1979 political backdrop >1938

    But

    1938 editing & tight story-telling >1979

    Margaret Lockwood >Cybill Shepherd

    1938 Plotting & motivation >1979

    1938 mystery & suspense >1979

    All in all, I think I *just* prefer the original, mostly because Margaret Lockwood is so winningly gorgeous in it, but there is plenty to recommend the newer version, and it was by no means a pointless remake.
  • avatar

    Dagdage

    Hammer's lamentable remake of a Hitchcock classic and unsurprisingly the studio's last picture – at least until their recent reinvention as a purveyor of horror fare. THE LADY VANISHES is an odd film indeed, one that veers unevenly between comedy, mystery and thrills and never really succeeds in any of those fields: the comedy's unfunny, the mystery's obvious and the thrills muted. It doesn't help that the lead actress – Cybill Shepherd – is horribly miscast, giving a performance so awful that some viewers may turn off because of her alone.

    Then again, Shepherd may not be entirely at fault – I struggle to think of an alternative actress who could have brought her shrill, screechy character to life. I generally enjoy films set aboard trains, planes, boats etc. but this one never makes good use of the location and the constant moving between carriages and compartments becomes repetitive in the extreme (although a late stage train-climbing stunt sequence is breathtakingly good).

    Elliott Gould seems distinctly embarrassed by his presence here and can do nothing with his character, while Angela Lansbury seems to think she's still in BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS and gives a patronising turn. It's left to the Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael to supply some genuine humour, although sadly their characters are ill-utilised and kept off-screen for the most part. THE LADY VANISHES marks an ignoble end for a once-fine studio and languishes today as a deservedly forgotten oddity.
  • avatar

    blodrayne

    Someone has commented here that you should not compare this film to the Hitchcock directed original as they are 'different' and 'comparisons are pointless'! What a very strange and incorrect comment to make on a site dedicated to comparing films of all kinds! The person has rated this film 10/10 therefore intimating that by comparison to ANY film this is top notch. If they do not wish to compare films, why comment and rate a film on the site?! Weird! Their comment that they are good in different ways and rating this as 10/10 are extraordinary claims for quality in this film that most others as well as myself think are way off the mark.

    This film lacks all the charm, wit and directorial genius of the original. There are many likenesses as it is the same story of course but EVERYTHING is done far less well. Even the person who rated this top marks and is a self proclaimed Elliott Gould fan says he isn't good in this. I agree for once. The acting is poor. Every character in Hitchcock's film is well developed as well as charmingly and brilliantly acted. All actors are far inferior in this version as is the director.

    The original has all the camera shots, suspense building scenes and clever touches you would expect from Hitchcock. This film lacks all of that. It has lost its charm and all the humour falls flat. It scrapes up to 3 1/2 or 4 out of 10 for me simply due to its great source material and me trying to judge it on its own limited merits.
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    Waiso

    Re-makes are, generally speaking, disappointing but this has to be the worst. Cybill Shepherd gives her usual acting performance (very poor), Angela Lansbury is, frankly, second rate and the rest of the cast seem embarrassed by the awful script. There seems to be, at times, an attempt at humour but it is so childish that it doesn't raise a smile. At the time that the original was made film makers could get away with this sort of plot, and Hitchcock could make it (almost) believable, but these days a little more is required. All in all an awful film which Hammer should be ashamed of as (I'm sure) most of the cast are. Steer clear of it.