3.24.2009

"Vandreka is One of Europe's Few Undiscovered Corners."

lady_vanishes I had a bought of insomnia tonight. So I watched an old movie just like I used to when, in the days before cable, my local channels had a Late, Late Late Movie feature. Generally it was some 60's B-movie, but occasionally they would dive into the B&W films from the 30s and 40s. That's the last time I'd had the opportunity to watch Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes.

Made in 1938, it was one of the last of his movies made in England. It was very successful in England and in the States which helped him seal his very lucrative American film contract in 1939.

It's a good movie, but best known as being a transition film for Hitchcock. There were camera angles, musical motifs, and plot points he'd more successfully pick up and carry into later films. If you've seen the Jodi Foster movie from a few years ago, Flight Plan, then you've basically seen this movie. It was a loose remake. Just substitute an old English Governess for Foster's daughter and a Central European steam locomotive puffing and clacking through the fictional country of Vandreka for a plane.

For me, I think I fell in love a bit with Margaret Lockwood. She was gorgeous! The male lead was Michael Redgrave. Father to Lynn and Vanessa and grandfather to the recently deceased Natasha Richardson. There was an eerie scene where Redgrave's character was talking to a doctor. They were discussing a recent operation. The victim had fallen and died of bleeding between the skull and the brain!! "What an awful death." Redgrave's character muttered. It sent shivers down my spine.

Oh yeah, near the end of the movie at Victoria Station wearing a black coat and smoking a cigarette is where you'll find Hitchcock. Now go spend a sleepless night or a rainy afternoon over at Hulu.com and watch it.

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