The Lady Vanishes (2013) TV Movie Review
The more productions I watch set in the 1930 era, the more I love this era. Ironically, once upon a time, it came in last. I’m not sure if the change came about because “bonnet” costume drama was so dominant and this is a new world to discover or if I like the sass that seems to accompany this era, either way, fans of this age or classy mystery will want to see the latest BBC masterpiece, The Lady Vanishes, which is now finally on DVD in the states.
Along with her group of friends, wealthy socialite Iris Carr (Tuppence Middleton) is travels by train through foreign countries with scenic stops along the way and days of leisure. Their latest stop is a quint hotel where the group meets a host of fellow guests. This includes the quiet Reverend Barnes and his wife (Pip Torres, Sandy McDade); a mysterious couple (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Keeley Hawes) with secrets; and the prudish, gossip prone sisters Rose and Evelyn Floodporter (Gemma Jones, Stephanie Cole).
After an unpleasant confrontation, Iris decides it’s best to leave her ner-do-well friends. She elects to remain behind while her party travels ahead. On her day alone, she wanders the countryside and realizes how fragile her position is; despite the money, she’s alone with no family. This inspires her to re-join her party a day prior to departure.
Iris barely manages to make the train in time, which also transports many hotel guests. Frustrated by language barriers, Iris befriends a kindly Englishwoman woman named Miss Froy (Selina Cadell). But after a deep slumber, Iris wakes to find her companion missing. Confused over fellow passengers claim there is no such person, Iris catches the attention of a young university student, Max (Tom Hughes) and his professor (Alex Jennings) who try to help sort out Iris’ hysterical claims. The more she searches to discover the fate of her friend, the more her existence is erases. Is Iris mistaken or is a mysterious game afoot?
This is actually very good. In fact, it’s over too soon for my pleasure. Initially it introduces us to a heroine who is anything but likable. She’s a selfish, spoiled young woman who doesn’t care who she hurts so long her lifestyle remains intact. Iris takes some time to warm up to though her spunk is infectious, and of course, eventually when the mystery gets rolling, Hitchcock-esque style is fabulous.
To round out the good, the costumes are stylish and pretty as is the countryside scenes, which bookends the story considering the entire film is confined to a train. There is some odd moments and a question that wavers between sanity and insanity. This means this may not be a film for everyone, however if you like British mystery, you should enjoy this one. It’s gutsy in surprising ways, has a fabulous climax wind-up, and as previously gushed over, the cast is phenomenal. With so many pros to its name, there isn’t more to say about this. Except maybe, where’s the sequel?
(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can own The Lady Vanishes (2013) digitally on Amazon Video or purchase on DVD.
(CONTENT: the film rates a PG. there is an extra-marital affair rumor and perhaps a minor innuendo, a woman accuses a girl of flirting/sleeping with her husband. A woman is taken against her will, while drugged and another is hidden away, tied up.)