Alfred Hitchcock did not simply emerge from the primordial cinematic ooze a fully formed filmmaker, in the mid-1950s, to create classics like Rear Window
(1958), and North by Northwest
(1959). Indeed, by that time, Hitch had been directing pictures in Europe and the U.S. for nearly thirty years, during which time he developed his signature style and formulated his thematic approach to filmmaking.The Lady Vanishes
(1938) was an essential film in this development for a number of reasons. After three forgettable misfires, it was Hitchcock’s first hit since The 39 Steps
(1935), and it reached a new level of critical and commercial success in Britain and abroad. This not only allowed him to regain his crown as Britain’s top director, but it also earned Hitchcock a ticket to Hollywood in the form of a lucrative (though ultimately stifling) contract from iconoclastic producer David O. Selznick. The film is rivaled only by North by Northwest
for its success in balancing the suspense, romance, and comedy in the director’s unique cinematic cocktail, and it presents an early and thorough exploration of a significant Hitchcock motif: the doppelganger.
But these elements aside, The Lady Vanishes
remains a classic from the Master of Suspense, which means you can count on seeing a woman in trouble, danger on a train, and, of course, a trademark cameo. Join us to learn more about a formative film in the career of a cinematic giant.