One of Hitchcock's best films, available online for free? What are you waiting for? Alfred Hitchcock made The Lady Vanishes in 1938, and it was widely considered to be the culmination of all his work up to that point. It uses a unique blend of comedy and suspense, and the two elements are playfully, masterfully mixed and intertwined to enhance one another, such as a lengthy scuffle with a suspect in the baggage car. It creates nervous laughter.

Iris (Margaret Lockwood) is an independent young lady traveler, who is about to embark on the last leg of her journey, returning to England to marry. Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) is a happy-go-lucky musicologist who annoys everyone with the noise from his hotel room. Gilibert and Iris hate each other at first, which pretty much assures that they will fall in love. On her way to the train, Iris gets bonked on the head, and the kindly, elderly Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) helps her find a seat. Iris slips off to sleep and when she wakes up, Miss Froy is gone. Even weirder, no other passenger admits to ever having seen her. There are some scant, fleeting clues but that seem to disappear along with the noise and wind of the train. To further disjoint us, the passengers on the train are a huge international mix and many speak a fictitious foreign language that we can't understand.

Along with Lifeboat, Rope and Rear Window, The Lady Vanishes is one of Hitchcock's best "enclosed space" movies, in which he makes intricate, insidious use of a single, finite location. (Which also made it harder for the master to insert his trademark cameo.) The movie was a huge success, and after one more film, Jamaica Inn (1939), Hitchcock was able to make the jump to Hollywood. And the rest is history.

Get your free ticket to The Lady Vanishes over at SlashControl.
categories Features, Cinematical