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The Lady Vanishes – Alfred Hitchcock

Submitted by on November 4, 2010 – 4:13 pmNo Comment

In the dining car Miss Froy asks the waiter to brew her a special packet of herb tea which she takes from her handbag, and later requests the sugar bowl from the two cricket fans who are demonstrating a cricket play with sugar cubes. While they drink their tea she tries to introduce herself to Iris, but her voice is drowned out by the train’s whistle, so she writes her name in the steam on the windowpane. Having introduced the principal characters in the confined setting where most of the action will take place, and having established the principal clues, Hitchcock has carefully prepared the film for the next part of the story.

After Miss Froy and Iris return to their compartment, Iris tries to sleep while Miss Froy begins to do a crossword puzzle. Iris drifts off to sleep and later, as she slowly awakens, looks sleepily around the compartment and realizes that Miss Froy is not there. When she asks the other occupants of the compartment where she is, a forbidding gray-haired Baroness assures her that there has not been any English lady besides Iris herself in the compart¬ment and suggests that the blow on her head has made her forgetful.

Iris begins a search through the train for Miss Froy; when she reaches the dining car, the waiter who has served them insists that Iris took tea by herself, producing a bill to prove it. Unconvinced, Iris continues her search, blun-dering into the third-class compartment where she encounters Gilbert once again. Although their relationship is more antagonistic than romantic at this point, Gilbert sees that she is seriously upset and offers to help her since he speaks the language. In the corridor they meet Dr. Hartz (Paul Lukas), an eminent European brain surgeon who is picking up a patient at the next station. When Iris asks for his help, he suggests that she is having hallucinations caused by the blow to her head.
Not so easily persuaded, however, Iris continues her search, questioning the other English passengers who have seen Miss Froy, but all have personal reasons for not wanting to admit that they have seen her; Todhunter (Cecil Parker), the Englishman who wanted privacy, is traveling with his mistress, Margaret (Linden Travers), and does not want to be involved in any scandal, knowing that it would harm his career. The two cricket fans, Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) and Charters (Basil Radford), are afraid the affair will delay the train, causing them to miss the cricket matches.

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