As Edinburgh went rugby-mad on Sunday, I took myself along to the Filmhouse to watch the glorious new print of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 film, The Lady Vanishes.
Somewhere in deepest, darkest Europe, a group of travellers are making their way back to Blighty by train, trying to beat the bad weather and catch the cricket scores back home.
It’s not long before intrigue becomes a fellow passenger on the train, leading to a right old ballyhoo involving spies, stiff upper lips and witty one-liners aplenty.
Showing in a crisp new print on Screen Two, age did not diminish any of the directorial flair that the young Hitchcock (he was 29) brought to Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder’s note-perfect script.
Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave make for fine leads, with Redgrave in particular having tremendous fun as the initially caddish Gilbert.
Also of note are the comedy double act of Charters and Caldicott, played by Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford who almost steal the film from Lockwood and Redgrave – they would go on to reprise their characters in various films and TV series.
If you ever get the chance to see this on the big screen I urge you to do so. Otherwise search out the DVD.
I’m just off to try and track down Night Train to Munich to see what Charters and Caldicott got up to next…
Photos courtesy allocine.co.uk