The Lady Vanishes - Criterion #3


The Lady Vanishes (1938) dir. Alfred Hitchcock | DP. Jack Cox

After the trash is emptied onto the beautiful European landscape, Iris can take her much earned sigh of relief to discover that bonk on the head did not, in fact, lead to making up a certain Miss Froy. Although, now there is a true mystery to solve.

The twists and turns in this early Hitchcock provided an enjoyable ride. Glimpses of his handiwork can be seen throughout, but this shot really grabbed my attention. Besides the obviously plot point, it's fun to think about the highly unlikely subtext that went into this shot.

Apart from Miss Froy, England wasn't shown in the brightest light in this film. The British characters were all fairly despicable (although quite funny) in their own right, and comments about the country were less than kind. Miss Froy delivered the biggest zinger when she said, "I never think you should judge any country by its politics. After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren't we?"

This was Hitchcock's final film in England before he skipped across the pond to create his masterworks. So in this final adieu, did Alfred tastefully interject his underlying feelings about his homeland? Could he have so brilliantly done this with one shot? Did he just see England as a package of herbal tea smearing off the window as his flight took off to the USA?

Probably not. But I guess we'll never know.  —ML